This panel advances women of color (WOC) feminist perspectives in the teaching of digital production. Digital humanities has often been critiqued as a predominantly white, male field (Bailey, 2011; Liu, 2012; McPherson 2012; Posner, 2012), and while there have been efforts to better include the perspectives of women and other marginalized groups in the teaching of technology, i.e., FemTechNet, there are still few models for guiding students through feminist approaches to digital production.
Using an interdisciplinary approach to scholarly and pedagogical inquiry, this panel engages work in feminisms, rhetoric, human computer interaction, and media studies to explore concepts and strategies relevant to teachers across the disciplines who are interested in incorporating feminisms and digital production in their courses. Furthermore, the panel speaks to changes in humanities research as it considers how WOC feminist theory (i.e., Moya, Moraga, Alcoff, hooks, Ahmed, Anzaldua) intersects with experience design, developing mobile technologies, community and identity building via social media, and video production.
Feminist Interventions in Digital Media Studies
Speaker 1 presents a feminist digital media pedagogy that draws on the work of Moya, Moraga, and Alcoff alongside the speaker’s research on the women of YouTube’s beauty community. Specifically, the speaker shows how women are using technology in ways that don’t align with mainstream academic feminisms. Through her analysis, the speaker argues that attention to women of color’s use of digital tools for building community and identity in a commercialized online environment is helpful for teaching students to engage feminisms, multimodal literacies, and critical inquiry in moments of digital production. The presentation concludes with a sample assignment and student projects developed for the speaker’s Feminism and Digital Media Studies course.
A More Ethical Lens: An Argument for Feminist Film and Video Production in the Classroom
Speaker 2 demonstrates how feminist filmmaking is an ideal method for teaching film and video production, particularly as it places the emotional well being of the subjects over the quality of the final product. Drawing from interviews with Rhetoric and Composition faculty and graduate students who teach filmmaking; scholarship by feminist filmmakers/academics like Alexandra Juhasz, Jamie Skye Bianco, and Frances Negron-Muntaner; and her own experience as a feminist filmmaker who teaches the method, Speaker 2 shows how feminist filmmaking is a safe and ethical approach for students and subjects alike, and well suited for teaching students how to work with vulnerable populations.
Feminisms and Interaction Design Pedagogy
Bardzell (2010) argued, “Feminism is a natural ally to interaction design, due to its central commitments to [...] agency, fulfillment, identity, equity, empowerment, and social justice.” Further, interaction design’s concerns for engaging “wicked problems” (Kolko, 2011) in tandem with feminist approaches of imagining radical futures via strategic contemplation (Kirsch and Royster, 2010) suggest the value of dialogue across these fields. Speaker 3 presents a course she taught situated at this intersection, outlining the theories, concepts, and readings that structured the course, before reporting on a qualitative study of students’ final collaborative prototyping projects.