Week 3: Technology & Perspectives Discussion

Choose one of the following options for your Post #1.

Option #1 Technological Politics 

Langdon Winner argues in “Do Artifacts have Politics” that technological artifacts can have political properties. After reviewing his article, please do the following:

  1. Using your own words and paraphrasing or summarizing, describe what Technological Politics is when it is part of the design or arrangement of a device or system, according to Winner. (Please see tips on paraphrasing here. Please see tips on summarizing here.)
  1. Choose one example from the article (Robert Moses overpasses, pneumatic molding machines, tomato harvester machine) and explain its political properties, according to Winner. Be sure to discuss who has power and who does not due to the artifact’s design.  
  2. Find an example of a technological artifact in your environment (bridge, street sign, game, tool, device, utensil, band-aid etc.), describe it briefly, and then explain who you think this artifact was designed for AND who may not have been considered when this artifact was designed. Who do you think might have more power due to the design of the artifact, and why? Explain your assessment using specific examples from the artifact. 

 

For instance, you could point out that those with small hand sizes, often women, may not have been fully considered in the design of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra because it is too big for those with smaller hands to use with one hand. Then, give the dimensions of the phone and the dimensions of a typical woman’s hand to show how this could be true. You could then talk about how those with bigger hands might have more power when using this device since it’s easier for them to use to take selfies, become influencers using it, etc.   

 

  1. Use two quotes from any of your resources to support or explain your points. Make sure to provide in-text citations for both quotes in MLA format. 
  1. Provide references for all sources in MLA format.  

Option #2: Gender

After reading Wacjman’s chapter, “Feminist Theories of Technology,” and Todd’s commentary, “GamerGate and Resistance to the Diversification of Gaming Culture,” in the Required Learning Materials, please do the following: 

  1. Briefly explain three things that you learned from these resources that have contributed to the tendency to relate technology to the male gender and stereotypes about gender and technology? 
  2. Identify one of your perceptions about technology and gender and explain why you might hold that idea. 

 

For instance, maybe you hold the idea that all car mechanics are men. You think this because you have only seen boys taking engine repair classes in high school, and every mechanic shop you have gone to has only had men working there repairing cars. You have also seen many television shows about racing, and the majority of those who drive racing cars and who work in the pits are men. Also, when you think of “mechanic,” an image of a greasy man in overalls holding a wrench comes into your head.  

Alternately, maybe you hold the idea that women like to vacuum. You hold this idea because you grew up only seeing the female grownup in your household use the vacuum cleaner. You have seen countless commercials and television shows with women vacuuming, and you remember something about the old Kirby vacuum cleaner sales people always wanting to talk to the “woman of the house.”  

 

  1. Finally, discuss why you think there can be such resistance, as exemplified by #Gamergate when genders other than male attempt to participate in creating and using technology? 
  1. Use two quotes from any of your resources to support or explain your points. Make sure to provide in-text citations for both quotes in MLA format. 
  1. Provide references for all sources in MLA format.  

Option #3: Race

After reading de la Peña’s “The History of Technology, the Resistance of Archives, and the Whiteness of Race” and Marijan’s “Algorithms Are Not Impartial” in the Required Learning Resource, please do the following: 

  1. Explain three factors or issues that contribute to race often being omitted in research on the history of technology.  
  1. Explain one factor or issue that contributes to race being omitted in algorithmic calculations.  
  1. Choose one of the solutions that either of these authors proposes to the problem they outline. Do you think that the author’s proposed solution can be effective? Why or why not?  
  1. Discuss one other roadblock, factor or issue you think can come up in trying to address race and technology in historical research or algorithmic calculations. 
  1. Use two quotes from any of your resources to support or explain your points. Make sure to provide in-text citations for both quotes in MLA format.
  1. Provide references for all sources in MLA format.  
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