Thursday, April 4, 2013

women on the web: Women's Studies 494/Katie King/Spring 1999/UMCP

Women's Studies 494/Katie King/Spring 1999/UMCP
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Women on the Web:
Ways of Writing in Historical Perspective

What if writing had been invented to help escaped slaves? (Do you know what it was invented for? Where? When? What counts as writing?) What if printing were still used by people in "corresponding societies" for purposes of revolution? (And what quite different sets of political purposes does mass publication enable today?) What role did the fax machine play in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement? (Or carbon paper in the former Soviet Union?) How is the internet used today to subvert political, religious and sexual censorship? (Where? For Whom?)
How obvious is a boundary between the Oral and the Written? Is it only one boundary? In what places and times is such a boundary useful to draw? Who needs it? For what purposes? This course is about the stories we tell about such boundaries. It is about how unstable these boundaries, these notions--the Oral, the Written--can be. In this course we will examine stories, tell stories, write stories, interpret stories, change stories. Such stories are about the movements of power: sex, race, class...gender, sexuality, nationality...religion, revolution, representation. Whether we like it or not, we are inside these stories. So, how do we seize the stories for ourselves?
The first half of the course will focus on feminist analysis of the internet and the world wide web. We will learn how to use each as well as consider the political meanings of feminist engagements with these writing processes. How are they being used for feminist activism today, for whom, where and why? The second half of the course will think about ways of writing in historical terms. There I will share my current research projects, one on Quaker women's writing on women's public speech in the 17th c. and the other on women's writing on the world wide web as part of media fan communities. In each case I'm concerned with how women write about what we think of as sexual issues, in contexts in which the meanings of sexuality are very different. You will create your own research project too, and we will share methods, issues and meanings of changes in ways of writing.
Texts Ordered from UMD Bookstore, Stamp Student Union: 
Temple Grandin. 1995. Thinking in Pictures. Vintage.
Dale Spender. 1995. Nattering on the Net. Spinifex.
Samuel R. Delany. 1979. Tales of Neveryon. Wesleyan. **
Rye Senjen. 1996. The Internet for Women. Spinifex.
Lynn Cherny, ed. 1996. Wired Women. Seal. *
Elizabeth Castro. 1998. HTML 4 for the World Wide Web. 3rd ed. Peachpit.
Elizabeth Eisenstein. 1983. The Printing Revolution. Cambridge.
Dianne Dugaw. 1989. Warrior Women and Popular Balladry. Chicago. *
Mary Garman, ed. 1996. Hidden in Plain Sight. Pendle Hill. *
Richard Barnet. 1994. Global Dreams. Touchstone. *
Ann Gray. 1992. Video Playtime. Routledge. *
Lynn Spigel, ed. 1992. Private Screenings. Minnesota. *
I should also have ordered Constance Pendley. 1997. NASA/Trek. Verso. I will do so late.
Other Required Readings will also be available, some on the World Wide Web, some on reserve at McKeldin, some available for xeroxing at Womens Studies, and some handed out in class. We will read the entire text in some cases, several chapters in others (*), and a single chapter in a few (**). All materials have been ordered for reserve at McKeldin (which doesn't mean they will necessarily be available immediately since some have to be located first). I suggest you be strategic about which books you buy, which you share with other students in class (please do this), and which you read on reserve. You are responsible for readings even if materials ordered for reserve are not yet there. Don't wait til the last minute to make arrangements for access to materials, because they will not all be simply obtainable. You may have to scout around a bit for access to some (especially if you don't buy them).
Computer Resources Required: 
You will need to be on email and check it regularly for class assignments and notices on our class reflector (you can get a WAM account for email at the Computer Center (CSS 1400) and use computer labs on campus). You will need to get a GLUE account at the computer center too, so that you can learn how to make a web page. Either WAM or GLUE accounts will allow you access to the Web, and we will be looking at web sites as part of our investigations. RIGHT NOW send email to Katie so she can set up reflector with your address. Send it to and be sure to say what class you are in (since I have more than one). If you don't know how to do this, ask a fellow student to help you out, or talk to Katie immediately. (To get a GLUE account, telnet to and login as "register" with the password of "register" and follow the instructions. You will then have to take a picture ID to CSS 1400 to confirm the account. Tell them you need the account for this class.)
Summary of Assignments
Since this class meets only once a week, the assumption is that you will spend MORE time than usual reading, writing and preparing for class. Ordinarily you should budget 3 hrs of prep time for each hr of class time, so think approximately 9 hrs prep time each week. (Some of which goes into graded assignments. The more you work on these consistently each week too the better you'll be able to budget your time conveniently.)
(1) Consolidating computer resources for class: get GLUE and WAM accounts, locate computer labs most convenient for your use if necessary, send Katie email for class reflector, check reflector for first messages, and evaluate web sites on handout. Find class support partner.
DUE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Hand in note of completion. 
(2) Brief (1-2 pg. typed) reflection papers assigned during the semester to bring into the next class. If you miss class you'll need to check with another student to see if one has been assigned that day. These are a bit like pop quizzes, and they show you are thinking about and keeping up with the readings. The first reflection paper is assigned with a due date: "Reflections on computer experiences." Say what you know how to do, what you've had troubles with and why, what's fun, what isn't fun, what you refuse to do and why, what you love and why, what equipment you have access to, what you wish you could do.
DUE 4 February (1-2 pg typed) 
(3) Creative paper on alternative writing technologies (may serve as intro to final paper). To be edited by your partner.
DUE 25 February (3-5 pg. typed) 
(4) Class report on form semester project will take (may create partner project or keep pairs for mutual support). Should include discussion of pivotal web sites.
DUE 11 March (5 min. oral report in class; written example to hand out) 
(5) Class report on progress on semester project. Should include discussion of web sites.
DUE 15 April (10 min. oral report in class; written example to hand out) 
(6) Finished semester major paper with learning analysis appendix (may be collaborative or partners edit each others work). May be connected to a student designed web site.
DUE 13 May (approx. 20 pg. paper) 
reflection papers and consolidating computer resources all together count for 25% of grade.
creative paper, 25% grade
both class reports together, 25% grade
final project, 25% grade
Reading and Project Assignments
January 28--Introduction to Women on the Web 
We'll start off the class by reading together "Women using the Net today" in Senjen (21-37), and creating a list of assumptions violated by the readings. Listing violated assumptions is one way to analyze the common sense knowledges we've believed without questioning. What associations do we have with women, computers, writing, feminism and activism?
February 4--Why would feminists want to become Electronic Witches? 
Start out with Intro from Spender, Nattering On the Net
Senjen, The Internet for Women, chaps 1,2,4,5
DUE: first reflection paper on Computer Experiences / 1-2 pg.
February 11--How do we think of the Web as a site of feminist struggles? 
Ohmann, "Computers, Literacy, & Monopoly Capital." College English (1985): 675-689.
Delany, "The Tale of Old Venn," fr. Tales of Neveryon
Spender, Nattering, chaps 1,2,3
February 18--Offering Challenges to Biases of the Ear and Eye 
Web assignment: read Chandler, "Biases of Ear & Eye" (see Web sites sheet)
Grandin, Thinking in Pictures
make connections with Ohmann and Delany
February 25--Differing Feminist Politics in the Net 
Psyche out the three books wired women, The Internet for Women, and Nattering on the Net. Published by feminist presses (two the same Australian press) and all pro-Net, still they reflect political differences among feminists. How can you tell? Read around in wired women, and additional chaps from the others. How do their approaches compare to the methods we are using in this class? What's the same, what's different?
DUE: Creative paper on alternative writing technologies / 3-5 pgs
March 4--Differing Ways of Thinking about Histories of Writing 
finish Spender and compare it with
Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution, Preface, Chaps 1, 2, 3
HANDOUT IN CLASS: chart from Lowe, History of Bourgeois Perception
Web assignment: analyze approaches to history in three sites on Web sites sheet
March 11--Hidden in Plain Sight 
King, "Publishers of Truth," essay on Quaker women, sent to you on email Psyche out Garman, Hidden: read forward, preface, acknowledgments, intro, and intros to each of four sections. Choose three documents of varying lengths to read.
Web assignment: compare with Dickinson Archives on Web sites sheet
March 18--Becoming a Web Woman: Making a Web Page (meet at Web Lab)
locate an html resource: I suggest Castro, HTML for the WWWeb, but there finish Spender and compare it with
Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution, Preface, Chaps 1, 2, 3
HANDOUT IN CLASS: chart from Lowe, History of Bourgeois Perception
Web assignment: analyze approaches to history in three sites on Web sites sheet
April 8--Histories of capitalism, technologies & globalizations 
Barnet, Global Dreams. Half students read Part One, half students read Part Three; each report to class.
Psyche out Spiegel, Private Screenings, Gray, Video Playtime, Penley NASA / Trek. Choose one and read all introductory materials and conclusions and 3 chaps (or more to make up about 1/3 of book). Be prepared to tell class more important points made in the book you chose.
April 15--Warrior Women, Past & Present Popularizations & Technologies 
Dugaw, Warrior Women, Prologue & intro materials, chaps 1,5,6, Epilogue.
King, two overlapping essays on tv shows Highlander & Xena, sent to you on email.
See at least one episode of each show, on cable, broadcast or video. How does the delivery system affect your reception of the show?
Web assignment: HL & X links from KK's web site
DUE: Report on semester project/ may be collaborative / 10 min oral, written example
April 22--Feminism and Writing Technologies 
King, Theory in Its Feminist Travels, read all introductory materials and chap 3. (@WMST & RESERVE)
King, "Seventeenth-Century Quaker Women: Lesbian Identities, and Feminist Subjects," emailed.
April 29--Global Feminist Formations? 
King, "Thinking in Layers of Locals & Global," emailed.
finish wired women, section "Textual Realities"
Dugaw, chaps 7,8
Web assignment: searches Virtual Sisterhood, Women'space, Deaf Queer Resource Center, WomenWatch
May 6--Presentations 
Web assignment: SHARP and Media & Communications sites
May 13--Presentations--LAST DAY! 
DUE: Major Paper with Learning Analysis appendix / may be collaborative/ 20 pgs
Web Sites Sheet, for evaluation
The Media and Communications Studies Site:
=see= Daniel Chandler's Biases of the Ear and Eye:
The Brown University Women Writers Project:
Media History Project:
History of Science Society:
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing:
Women'space Magazine:
1) What kind of site is this? What is its purpose? Who put it together? How do you know these things?
2) What sort of information is located here? How authoritative is it? What should it be used for? How do you know?
3) How is this site useful for this class? Why are you being asked to evaluate it? How will you use it?
4) What kinds of links are offered here? Which look especially interesting? Why?

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