Editors: Shaowen Bardzell, Lilly Nguyen, Sophie Toupin
There has been a recent growth in interest in feminist approaches to
practices like hacking, tinkering, geeking and making. What started off
as an interest in furthering representations of women in the technical
fields of computer science and engineering, often along the lines of
liberal feminism, has now grown into social, cultural, and political
analyses of gendered modes of social reproduction, expertise, and work,
among others. Practices of hacking, tinkering, geeking, and making have
been criticized for their overtly masculinist approaches, often anchored
in the Euro-American techno-centers of Silicon Valley and Cambridge that
have created a culture of entrepreneurial heroism and a certain
understanding of technopolitical liberation, or around the German Chaos
Computer Club (CCC).
With this special issue of the Journal of Peer Production, we hope to
delve more deeply into these critiques to imagine new forms of feminist
technical praxis that redefine these practices and/or open up new ones.
How can we problematize hacking, tinkering, geeking and making through
feminist theories and epistemologies? How do these practices, in fact,
change when we begin to consider them through a feminist prism? Can we
envision new horizons of practice and possibility through a feminist
In this call, we understand feminist perspectives to be pluralistic,
including intersectional, trans, genderqueer, and race-sensitive
viewpoints that are committed to the central principles of
feminism--agency, fulfillment, empowerment, diversity, and social
justice. We refer to the term hacking with a full understanding of its
histories and limitations. That said, we use it provisionally to
provoke, stimulate, and reimagine new possibilities for technical
feminist practice. Hacking, as a form of subjectivity and a mode of
techno-political engagement, has recently emerged as a site of intense
debate, being equally lauded as a political ethos of freedom and
slandered as an elitist form of expertise. These fervid economic and
political ideals have been challenged and at times come under attack
because they not only displace women and genderqueer within these
technological communities but, more importantly, because they displace
gendered forms of reflection and engagement.
Drawing on a growing community of feminist scholarship and practices, we
hope to build on this momentum to invite submissions that
reconceptualize the relationship between feminism and hacking. We aim to
highlight feminist hackers, makers and geeks not only as new communities
of experts, but as new modes of engagement and novel theoretical
developments. In turn, with this special issue, we hope to challenge
both concepts of feminism and hacking to ask several questions. How can
feminist approaches to hacking open up new possibilities for
technopolitics? Historically, hacking discourses center on political and
labor aesthetics of creation, disruption, and transgression. How can
feminist theories of political economy push technopolitical imaginaries
towards alternate ideals of reproduction, care, and maintenance?
Conversely, we also ask how notions of hacking can open up new
possibilities for feminist epistemologies and modes of engagement?
We seek scholarly articles and commentaries that address any of the
following themes and beyond. We are also interested in portraits,
understood broadly, of feminist hackers, makers and geeks that help us
better understand feminist hacker, maker and geek culture. We also
solicit experimental formats such as photo essays or other media that
address the special issue themes.
• What is distinctive about feminist hacking or hackers? How
does feminist hacking practices help create a distinct feminist hacking
• Why are feminist hacking practices emerging? Which
constellation of factors help the emergence of such practices?
• What do we know about the feminist hacker spectrum? i.e. what
are the differences among feminist hacking practices and how can we make
sense of these distinctions?
• What tensions in hacking and/or in hacker practices and
culture(s) come to the fore when feminist, anti-patriarchal,
anti-racist, anti-capitalist and/or anti-oppression perspectives are taken?
• What does feminist hacker ethic(s) entail?
• What kind of social imaginaries are emerging with feminist
hacking and hackers?
• What kinds of hacking are taking place beyond the Euro-American
Submission abstracts of 300-500 words due by September 8, 2014, and
should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All peer reviewed papers will be reviewed according to Journal of Peer
Production guidelines; see http://peerproduction.net/peer-review/process/.
Full papers and materials (peer reviewed papers around 8,000 words and
testimonies, self-portraits and experimental formats up to 4,000 words)
are due by January 31st, 2015 for review.
Se siente limitado por su proveedor de Internet? Esta cansado por la obsolescencia planificada en sus equipos electrónicos? Preocupada por las disposiciones legales que tratan de censurar Internet? Enfadada por la comercialización de sus datos personales? Si estas preguntas le hablan, entonces este dossier le es dirigido. Si estas preguntas aun le parecen triviales o incluso innecesarias, este dossier le resultará definitivamente útil para entender mejor la cuestiones éticas y la calidad de las tecnologías que utiliza.
Esta revista presenta otras formas de desarrollar, utilizar y volver sostenibles nuestras herramientas de información, comunicación y expresión. Todas las contribuciones han sido desarrolladas por personas que actúan en primera linea del desarrollo de la soberanía tecnológica: Patrice Riemens, Richard Matthew Stallman, Benjamin Cadon, Elleflâne, Tatiana de la O, Karlessi, Ippolita, Marcell Mars, Hellekin, Julie Gommes, Jorge Timon, Marta G. Franco, Spideralex, Maxigas, Ursula Gastfall, Thomas Fourmond et Paula Pin.
Por lo tanto, este trabajo solo ha sido posible gracias a las contribuciones de estos hacktivistas, desarrolladores de software libre, transhackfeministas, artistashackers, inventores de lo cotidiano, amantes de las tecnologías apropiadas e investigadores activistas. Cada contribución se ha centrado en analizar las fortalezas y debilidades de sus campos de acción para proporcionar vías para que los usuarios de las TIC dejen de ser simples consumidores pasivos y se conviertan también en actores de su desarrollo.
En la primera parte, el concepto de soberanía tecnológica, y sus requisitos previos (software libre, la neutralidad de Internet, hardware libre, servidores autónomos) son explicitados. A continuación, se destacan varias iniciativas tecnológicas innovadoras (motores de investigación alternativa bibliotecas públicas digitales, redes sociales descentralizadas, tecnologías anticensura, criptomonedas e incluso la exploración del espacio). Por último, los lugares para que pueden surgir estas alternativas, es decir, los Hacklabs, FabLabs y Biolabs son presentados. Te invitamos a apoyar la difusión de esta revista electrónica. Todo el contenido y las imágenes están disponibles bajo licencia BY -- SA.
El dossier en castellano se puede descargar aquí : http://www.plateforme-echange.org/spip.php?article104
El dossier en francés esta disponible aquí : http://www.plateforme-echange.org/spip.php?article102
Image credit: Alatriel Elensar
Two and a half years ago, the LEGO Corporation made a move that set into motion a chain of events that has led, circuitously but unambiguously, to the following exciting announcement, released yesterday via YouTube: In late summer or early fall of 2014, the company will release to the public an official set of female scientist minifigures – a paleontologist, an astronomer and a chemist. Watch the announcement at the video below:
If the news sounds humdrum, believe me when I say it is not! In fact, one wonders what discussions must have sounded like behind closed doors in Billund, Denmark between the 2012 release of the immediately controversial LEGO Friends line, the ensuing decision to release the first female lab scientist minifigure last September, and now this most recent development: an extremely rare all-female set made with regular LEGO minifigures, depicting scientists doing what scientists do (hopefully without too much pink).
When Friends went public on January 1, 2012, the company line seemed to be: We’ve done our research and product testing, thank you, so leave us be because we know what we’re doing. Of course, to the extent that Friends has been a financial success, they had a point. But they clearly hadn’t counted on many thousands of people taking to blogs and social media to present their concern that LEGO’s marketing of a new stereotype-laden girls’ line would do little to change the fact that the bulk of their products severely underrepresent females in sets depicting cerebral careers like those in the STEM fields, fantastical adventures and everyday life. For a company that outwardly promotes inclusivity and equality, it sure felt like it was going out of its way to do the exact opposite with its products, both within the Friends line and elsewhere.
Custom-built LEGO scientist minifigures by the author represent (clockwise from top left): astronaut Sandra Magnus, physicist Lisa Randall, primatologist Jane Goodall, astronomer Jill Tartar, oceanographer Sylvia Earle and planetary scientist Carolyn Porco.
In the months and years since then, legions of LEGO fans have spoken out, and it is clear that our messages have been heard. I’m proud to have made early calls suggesting LEGO-sanctioned females in STEM like those in my minifigure set of real-life scientists. I loved watching Anita Sarkeesian grill LEGO in her two-part video series on the company’s history of gender-based marketing. I and others compiled minifigure gender data and circulated colorful infographics. A year ago, Swedish geochemist Alatariel Elensar (a.k.a. Ellen Kooijman) challenged LEGO to produce a set of 13 empowering female minifigures via the CUUSOO fan-based design incubator site. If a design on this site gets enough upvotes from the community, LEGO will consider it for a limited edition set for public release. Meanwhile, rumors began to fly that a female scientist might appear in a future Collectible Minifigures set.
“Numerous sources suggest you will be releasing a scientist in Series 11 (gender as yet unspecified),” I wrote in an open letter to the company around this time last year. “For the love of the FSM, please do the right thing.”
They did, and on September 1, 2013, the company released the first-ever female lab scientist, a clear nod to calls for more female minifigures in regular LEGO offerings outside of the Friends world.
LEGO's first female lab scientist. (Photo credit: Maia Weinstock)
The pressure didn’t stop there. In February, a 7-year-old wrote an adorable message noting LEGO’s gender issues and asking the company to “make more lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!” After this year’s popular The LEGO Movie drew criticism for including a very small minority of female characters, the director acknowledged the issue and seemed committed to addressing it in the sequel. And just recently, a clever elementary school photo project took LEGO to task for moving away from their earlier gender-neutral sets and suggested the company create more minifigures that better represent the true diversity of gender and culture.
Topping everything off, we now find that Elensar’s female scientist minifigure set will actually get made, after it received a flood of support from around the Internet. I’ll be honest here: I had been skeptical that the set would be chosen for production. So the fact that LEGO is giving boys and girls alike a positive new image of what women can do and be in the STEM fields—and beyond—speaks wonders to the company’s willingness to consider that they might have missed something critical in all of that pre-Friends product testing.
I’ve written before that media and toy companies have an enormous power to shape what children are socialized to accept as “normal,” especially when it comes to gender roles. And to be sure, LEGO still has a way to go: It’s a reality that their sets almost always contain more males than females, and they could definitely use more minifigs of color! But in taking this important step, I’m confident that everyone’s favorite brick company is beginning to address these issues head on. I can’t wait to see what the final scientist minifigure set will look like – and to buy one for every kid I know!
About the Author: Maia Weinstock is an editor and writer specializing in science and children's media. She is the Deputy Editor at MIT News, the news office of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has previously worked at BrainPOP, Discover, SPACE.com, Aviation Week & Space Technology, and Science World. Maia is a strong advocate for girls and women, particularly in the areas of science, technology, politics, and athletics. She is an active member of Wikimedia New England and has led various efforts to increase the participation and visibility of women on Wikipedia. Maia also spearheads a number of media projects, including Scitweeps, a photo set depicting scientists and sci/tech popularizers in LEGO. She holds a degree in Human Biology from Brown University. Follow on Twitter @20tauri.
The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Ciberfeminism, hacktivism, open culture and free tech education
G.Hack is a collective of female researchers within the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. The group is focused on sharing knowledge and developing interactive media projects. At Sónar+D they will present “Women Hackers”, a panel with inspirational women founders, leaders, researchers and advocates of cyberfeminism, hacktivism, open culture and free tech education.
Thursday 12 | Stage+D1 | 16.45 - 17.45
Panel consist of:
Nela Brown, Chair of G.Hack, doctoral student at Queen Mary University of London Cognitive Science Research group, award winning sound artist, musician, technologist and leader.
Alex Haché, member of Dones Tech a group of Social Research dedicated to creating digital content, media production and communication. Haché is doctor of economy, cyberfeminist, hacktivist, developer of technopolitical projects, researcher of ICT for public good.
Klau Kinki, part of pechblenda LAB, an experimental laboratory where learning arises from raw experimentation and the self-formation where free knowledge emerges.
Amélie Anglade, member of OpenTechSchool a movement aiming to offer free tech education. Co-founder of Hackership, a full-time 3-month hacker school programme located in Berlin and based on the values of OpenTechSchool. Her work focuses on supporting hackers of all backgrounds to learn and grow, and also she does music information retrieval and recommendation for a living. She presents herself as a music hacker at heart.
Please take note this activity is offered in English only.