Seeking feedback on an idea for research or teaching? Developing research in progress that you’d like to share? Interested in presenting a poster? This Locus event will provide a collegial forum for scholars in any discipline to share research developments at any stage (including brainstorming, works in progress, and/or fully developed projects), as well as ideas and best practices for teaching. Please feel free to reprise past presentations or posters to share with the MSU community in this forum!

The Locus event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4th, 12:00-1:30 p.m. on Zoom (link sent to registrants before the event). Register to attend here.



The Internet of Cows: Gendered Labor and Technology

Scout Calvert

This presentation explores the Cyborg Manifesto, a feminist response to science and technology, in relation to the feminized technological labor of dairy cows, and suggests possibilities for cross-species solidarity.

Please Teach Your Kids to Stand Up Against Online Toxicity

Rabindra (Robby) Ratan

This talk will cover one line of my research focusing on the relationship between video games, gender stereotypes, attitudes about STEM fields, and online toxicity. The fundamental argument is that toxicity in online games triggers stereotype threat, which not only harms gaming performance, but also reinforced gender stereotypes of STEM fields. In other words, being a jerk in online games potentially harms others’ future career aspirations.
Then, speaking as a parent of four game-loving boys (along with evidence from other researchers), I will implore other parents/guardians to help their kids stand up against online toxicity in respectful and effective ways.
My goal in this talk will be to practice framing this argument in a way that appeals to audiences so that I can better pursue future scholarship in this area.

JavaScript as a Queer Object

Jess Tran

JavaScript’s many quirks and oddities make it a very queer language and love it or hate it, JavaScript now runs the entire web. The language was written by Brendan Eich in 1995 in a matter of 10 days. However, the history of JavaScript begins with Peter Landin, a gay computer scientist and gay rights activist, who first made a connection between lambda calculus and computer science in the 1960s.

In our research, we want to continue the explore the various levels of queerness and gender, from JavaScript’s history to its current implementation, through a framework of queer epistemology of computing. Some areas worth exploring are Promises, “an object that may produce a single value some time in the future” which act as futurity, vis-à-vis José Esteban Muñoz. Another area of interest is the unique design of what is called a falsy boolean value within JavaScript. Falsy values include types such as “null, 0, undefined, false” and so on, which prove the existence of not just a third-value logic, but also a selection of third-values that defies a binary logic we accustom ourselves to when thinking about computers. Due to the large number of women working in this field, we also examine how the labour of writing JavaScript has been gendered, and as a result deskilled and devalued. Finally, we address how JavaScript and web standards are a colonial project through its history of privileging English, which has caused issues for languages with diacritical marks and Cyrillic languages, for example.

Gender and Genre Bias: Women Writers & Networks in Latin America

Rocio Quispe-Agnoli

It is well known that the literary history of Latin America and its canon has been/is written by a patriarchal Eurocentric society that controls what constitutes national literature. It is also established that (colonial/contemporary) Latin American subjects in the periphery of the urban republic of letters are not included due to their gender (women), race and ethnic origin (Indigenous, mestizo, African-descent) or the expectation that women write within the boundaries of certain textual genres.
I want to learn about digital tools and resources to address the production and networking of female communities and make visible their work, efforts, writings and publishing paths in the two following contexts: (i) women’s voices dispersed in the colonial archives of Latin America (1500-1799), and (ii) contemporary Latin American women who write speculative fiction (sci-fi, horror literature, dark fantasy), a genre expected to be written, published and controlled by men.
Could we assign a gender to the writer of a text?

My project considers two major areas of research using digital tools and resources: (a) building maps of women’s networks such as (Visone) and/or (Gephi)
(b) To analyze and compare visualization tools (such as voyant: of extensive texts (10,000+ words) written by men and women within the same genre or topic.

Intersectional Identity among Kenya’s Technology Professionals

Brian Geyer

Kenya’s technology sector is the premier national technology sector in eastern Africa and one of the largest on the continent. As an important part of the country’s long-term economic development, the government’s Vision 2030 development plan uses the sector’s ostensible moniker – Silicon Savannah – as the future name of a proposed tech-centric metropolis. Due to this importance, the sector enjoys significant interest from not just international venture capitalists, but likewise from development organizations. International development literature frequently discusses the importance of women’s empowerment as a means of lifting a population overall, especially within the most economically-productive sectors of a country’s economy. As such, there is significant interest in those who work in Kenya’s tech sector, especially with regard to women.

Through past research activities in Nairobi and Kisumu, Kenya, I have observed that women appear to comprise ~35% of the sector workforce, which is much higher than the 26% found in the U.S. Intriguingly, the sector seems to have a higher rate of Catholicism than Kenya’s national rate of ~20%. And perhaps most importantly, there is little agreement among sector professionals regarding the cohesiveness of their industry as a discernable community, a fact emblematic of the broader lack of cohesion amongst all Kenyan professionals. My dissertation research will further explore these initial findings, utilizing an intersectional approach to Kenyan tech professional identity, to take into consideration participants’ gender, ethnicity, religion, location within the country, and socioeconomic class, to investigate how one’s intersectional identity affects their ability to find tech sector work.

Crip Studies, New Media, & Digital Public Feminism

Nicole McCleese

My short oral presentation would describe two similar intersectional digital public feminism projects on disability studies. This fall my students in English 140: Literature and Society are completing a public feminism outreach project as an asynchronous digital symposium of student work on the neurodegenerative disease, Huntington’s Disease for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA)–Lansing chapter. In course work, students analyze disability narratives on social media using mediated narrative analysis and in popular culture using Black feminist disability studies before creating a video essay about disability stories. This smaller scale project is a test run for a spring public feminism asynchronous digital symposium. In spring, I’m developing a course, ENG 482: Feminist Theory, with a final interdisciplinary public feminism project on the topic of “Black, Feminist, Queer, Crip Narrative Medicine” and delivered as an asynchronous digital symposium. One option would be to have a call for lightning talks, open to English Department faculty and graduate students, or invited scholars. Using Flipgrid, or a similar platform, participants could upload their lightning talks on the topic of shared stories of disease and disability in new media, film, literature, or critical theory. By bringing together black feminist scholarship on medicine and narratology, this proposal, and my research on transmedia disability narratives, builds on Ruth Page’s contributions to New Media studies and theorizes new directions for the emerging field of Crip Studies. This course development, antiracist pedagogy, and public feminism digital project is supported by an English Department NICE Fellowship and an Adams Academy Fellowship.

Designing Social Technology with Rural LGBTQ Communities

Jean Hardy

Rural and remote regions frequently face challenges with respect to social connection and community formation. While information and communication technologies (ICTs) are often touted as solutions to rural social and economic challenges, rural areas still lag behind urban areas with respect to ICT access, adoption, and use. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people living in rural areas are a salient population to observe these issues in action, as rural areas have drastically fewer resources for them. Social media and other ICTs can be incredibly important for rural LGBTQ people in navigating issues related to isolation, population density, and a lack of cultural resources.

In this presentation, I will briefly describe The LGBTQ Futures Project, a community-based participatory design project that seeks to better understand what the future of social technology could look like that prioritizes the specific needs and desires of rural LGBTQ people.

CFP (now closed)

We are seeking short presentations on research and teaching specific to digital technology and gender studies.

Please fill out the participation form, including a short description of your presentation, by Wednesday, October 21st at 5:00pm.

Possible topic areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Feminist digital humanities
  • Gender, globalization, and the digital
  • Intersectionality and digital humanities
  • Feminism and gaming
  • Queer identity and digital media
  • Feminist pedagogy and digital technologies
  • Gender and data visualization
  • Gender and the digital divide