location | Wireframe Studio (1401 Music Bldg).
days/time |  TH 12:30-1:50pm
Professor Laila Shereen Sakr []
contact | email: ssakr AT | twitter:  @vj_um_amel
office hours | Wed 1-3pm, or by appt.

“I am proposing we live together, proceed forward, together in symbiosis not auto-poesis, in continual partial healing practices.” – VJ Um Amel, Ten Year Manifesto, 2017.


FemTech Lab is a hybrid theory/practice seminar on feminism, cyberfeminism, and feminist theories of technology. We engage the political potency of feminist media practice—the use of installations, performance, public interactives, visual arts, and web-based platforms appealing for change or hacking systemic bias. Such creative and critical aesthetic engagements are firmly located in the feminist politics of the contemporary moment, an age marked by the proliferation of new media that have radically reconstituted not only the character of visual culture but also its channels of transmission and circulation. The transnational scale of media circulation has posed serious challenges to feminist scholars eager to understand how media are decoded and translated as they travel from one cultural context to another.

</Technologies we study>

Distributed Networks
Practice as Methodology
Post-Human Compost
Public Pedagogy


The course will use this website as the main online platform to provide: weekly syllabus updates, PDFs for all readings, events and resources. Please regularly check the website for syllabus updates.


  1. Please be respectful of one another’s opinions.
  2. Be rigorous: do the readings thoroughly and carefully and bring all readings to class.
  3. Be on time. I have a late policy — see below.
  4. Turn off and put away all cellular phones.


Assignments: All Assignments must be finished and uploaded to the class website before class at 8:30am. Each post must include a title, a few sentences or more describing the assignment, meta tags, and then the video file itself (via upload to Vimeo — store all video on your Vimeo accounts). Students will present in class each assignment for peer-critique Be prepared to talk about what about your choices, process, and challenges in finishing the assignments.

Grading: 50% of the course grade reflects the conceptual design, production and presentation of the assignments. The remaining 50% of the grade involves an assessment of students’ individual participation and contributions to peer-critique and to the course overall. All grades are final and are not subject to change. The following grading

Attendance and Late Policy: Do not be late. Do not miss class without speaking with me first. Every late arrival/departure and missed class will be deducted from your grade.


Week 1 – Feminist, Technology, and Lab

Tues, Apr 4 – Class Mechanics, Syllabus overview

Create vimeo accounts, set up blog accounts

Watch: Balsamo, A., Suchman, L., & Graham, K. G. (2013). Feminism, technology, and systems 2: Infrastructures. FemTechNet.

Read and Listen: FemTechNet Manifesto

Thu, Apr 6
 – Object-Oriented Feminism: Feminist, Tech, and Lab as objects

Read: Morse, Margaret (2003). “The Poetics of Interactivity” in Women, Art, and Technology,  Ed. Judy Malloy. MIT Press Leonardo Book Series: Boston.

Check out:

Empyre discussion on “Feminist Data Visualization” curated by Christina McPhee.
-Read at least three articles from Empyre discussion. Post the articles you read with 500-word response to the class blog.

Week 2 – Distributed Networks

Tues, Apr 11 – Guest Artist: Christina McPhee

Google and read any three articles and the website. Post the articles you read with 500-word response to the class blog.

Read: Jonas, Joan (2003). “Transmission” in Women, Art, and Technology,  Ed. Judy Malloy, pp. 114-133. MIT Press Leonardo Book Series: Boston.

McPhee, Christina (February 2017). Digicult interview

Thu, Apr 13 – Mapping Dissent

Important dates: April 12 from 330-445PM in the MCC Lounge. We will plan the next day’s performance.

Thursday, April 13: 1245-345PM, Meet in front of SRB and we will move along our route; 4-5, rally in front of Storke Tower.

To be a main player in this performance, which will take the seemingly banal form of walking, please attend this meeting on April 12. Even if you can’t you are welcome to come and we can see what’s what or you can spectate. Spectating will not be a passive activity (it never is), but in the event that we are met with any opposition, our supportive spectators will form a circle, holding hands, around the primary performance walkers/display mounters. We hope this will not be necessary, but our spectators, no matter what happens, play an important role.

Week 3 – Collectivity

Tues, Apr 18 – Arab Women Techies

Google and read any three articles and the website. Post the articles you read with 500 word response to the class blog.

Watch Abir Ghattas from 2016
Read: @girleffect, “Case study: Harassmap–Changing Attitudes to Harassment and Assault in Egypt;” Chelsea Young, “HarassMap: Using Crowdsourced Data to Map Sexual Harassment in Egypt” (March 2014);

Thu, Apr 20
 – Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency

Google and read any three articles. Post the articles you read with 500 word response to the class blog.

Guest Speaker: Guerrilla Poets

Week 4 – Practice as Methodology

Tues, Apr 25 – The Implosion Project

I. Read: Eve Sedgwick (2002) “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, Or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You
Eric Zimmerman (2003) “
Play as Research: The Iterative Design II. “Implosion Projects are attempts to teach and learn about the embeddedness of objects, facts, actions, and people in the world and the world in them. The emphasis is on details and nonobvious connections, as well as on the many dimensions with which we can analyze them: labor, professional, material, technological, political, economic, symbolic, textual, bodily, historical, Pick an artifact, a fact, a process as “it.” Make sure it is as specific as possible (not just fluoxetine, but one of those colored, branded Prozac pills that is in your medicine cabinet; not just the fact that a monkey can use sign language, but the materialized, stated claim in a 1999 journal article). How can it be conceptualized? What is it to different groups of people and individuals? How is it situated in the world and how is the world situated in it? Following is a hastily put-together, quite incomplete, yet apparently excessive list of possibly relevant aspects of any artifact (whether it be a social movement, a name, a grouping, a set of actions, or a process in the form of a thing, a grain of rice, a mouse, a mouse pad, an ad about a mouse, you, a fact of life, a book, a statistic, an event, a story …).Write your experience in a 1,000 word blog post or more.

Thu, Apr 27 – VJ Um Amel

Google and read any three articles. Post the articles you read with 500 word response to the class blog.

VJ Um Amel (2012, 2017). Manifesto

Week 5 – Cyborgs

Tues, May 02

Haraway, Donna J. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century” In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 149–81. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Puar, Jasbir. 2011. “I Would Rather Be a Cyborg than a Goddess’: Intersectionality, Assemblage, and Affective Politics.” Transversal (August).

Scannell, Joshua R., (2016). “Both a Cyborg and a Goddess: Deep Managerial Time and Informatic Governance” in Object-Oriented Feminism. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Post your responses to the readings in a blog post.

Thu, May 04 – Meet in Wireframe without the professor to self-direct the class project.

Week 6 – Midterm Presentations

Tues, May 09 –Treatment for final is due at midterm.

Includes: final mood board or style sheet, storyboard or wireframe and 500-word abstract, title, and meta tags or keywords for project. Presented for peer-critique. Students are graded for ability to give as well as receive critique.

Thu, May 11 – Midterm presentations part two

Week 7 – Public Pedagogy

Tues, May 16 – Guest speaker: Anne Balsamo 

Google and read any three articles about and the website. Post the articles you read with 500-word response to the class blog.

Balsamo, Anne (2011). “Public Interactives and the Design of Technological Literacies” in Designing Culture. Duke University Press, Durham.

Thu, May 18
 – Intersectionality of #BlackLivesMatter

Google and read any three articles and the website. Post the articles you read with 500 word  response to the class blog.

Week 8 – Solidarity/ Installation 

Tues, May 23 – Open Lab

Thu, May 25 – Open Lab

Week 9 – Solidarity/ Installation

Tues, May 30
 – Install

Thu, Jun 01 – Open Studio



Week 10 –  Post-human Compost

Tues, Jun 06 – Guest speaker: Dick Hebdidge

Hebdidge, Dick (1979). Subculture: the Meaning of Style. Routledge: London.

Listen: The Butchies.

Post your responses to Subculture in a blog entry.

Thu, Jun 08 – Post-cyborgs

Haraway, Donna J.”Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin.” Environmental Humanities 6 (2015): 159–65.

The final will be one installation and/or interactive and/or performance and/or net art that the class has been working on throughout the quarter.  For the final, each student hands in their design boards and storyboards from midterm, a 1,500 final written critique of the project, and the final video file uploaded on its one blog post.