Facilitator: Shruti Patel, History; G. Douglas Barrett, Communication; and Anthony Rojas, Chemistry
How do digital technologies like social media, computers, and dating apps—as well as knowledge technologies like libraries and governments—influence and inform human identity? In 2014, Facebook announced that it would allow its users to choose from 58 options for gender identification including female, male, transwoman, and transman, as well as genderqueer, non-binary, and “other.” Until recently, computers themselves were gendered—prior to the 1940s, that is, the term “computer” referred to a human, typically a woman, who performed calculations by hand. Dating apps allow users not only to specify gender and sexual preferences, but also discriminate based on race and ethnicity. In the sphere of ideas and governance, the contents of archives and information repositories are not only driven by the interests of scholars and university administrators but also respond to the societies they serve. This cross-cutting inquiry, we think, can and should be investigated through interdisciplinary engagement. While humanists possess an arsenal of methodologies and approaches to analyze such questions, scientists, engineers, and technologists represent key perspectives in this conversation. Through a series of readings and study group meetings, this FLC will introduce SU faculty across the sciences, social sciences and humanities, to science and technology studies (STS), digital humanities, media studies, and the post-humanities, and explore their uses in curricula and professional development. Participants will then be invited to apply knowledge gained from the FLC in both teaching and scholarly activities.