Fembots and Cyborgs

Spring
3 credits

This course will explore how technology may liberate or fortify women and gender-nonconforming bodies via art -- especially by forging and/or imagining feminist hybrid human forms. We'll explore everything from web artworks to AI collaborations, Afrofuturism/scifi, theory, pop songs, digital installations, and scientific articles. Beginning at the feminist roots of code, we will ask how the feminist cyborg lives alongside the motion picture fembot and a long history of femme AI. We'll think about how technology could birth new forms of sex, alleviate gender dysphoria, and amplify femme voices -- and how/why it has failed to do so. Finally, we'll look at imagined digital feminist Creations, and ask how far away we are from their actualization. Expect artists and authors like Donna Harroway, Legacy Russell, McKenzie Wark, N. Katherine Hayles, Paul B. Preciado, Laboria Cuboniks, Octavia Butler, Shelley Jackson, Sondra Perry, Janelle Monae, Allison Parrish, Sadie Plant, Rachel Rossin, VNS Matrix, Mary Maggic, Nalo Hopkinson, Evan Ifekoya, Mary Shelley, Lauren McCarthy, Monique Wittig, and Martine Neddam. The themes of this class will be fodder for students' own digital feminist creations: several mini-projects and a final artwork, all of which may take any form. Students will be encouraged but not required to learn digital tools for these projects.