Course Overview A/W 2000/2001

Course Director:  Mary-Louise Craven

Tuesday and Thursday; 10 - 11:30 (the Tuesday class is held in the computer lab at 530 Scott Library)

Office:  328 Calumet  (office hours Thursday 11:30 - 1:30 or as arranged)

Course description

This course brings various feminist perspectives to look at the ways in which contemporary technologies including the telephone, television, cinema, print-based media (such as magazines, romantic fiction, etc.), and computers are held within historical relationships of gender.   

While feminist critics have studied media or technology, they generally have focused on one area. This course brings these two areas of study together, and begins with the premise that gender is not simply one phenomenon that might or might not be added to a more general theory of technology and media.

General theories of “feminism,” “media” and  “technology” will be explored by using  case studies in various technologies and media (see the separate Course Readings document).    But this approach will be tempered by the acknowledgment that it is frequently difficult to study media and technologies discretely since there is a growing tendency of media and technologies to refer to each other, making media and technology boundaries artificial. 

The course readings are not limited solely to women writer, although they do predominate--but rather to writers pursuing a critical stance.  In the same way, the class is open to all students interested in critical perspectives on media and technology. 

For 2000/01, the course readings will focus on these areas:

Technology/media based

·      The Telephone
·      The VCR
·      Magazines:  women's alternative media + Wired magazine
Specifically computer-based:
·      Artificial Intelligence
·      Information Technology fields
·      video games
·      word processors
·      listservs (CMC)

Course Reading Material

xeroxes distributed in first classes.
  Various online articles on the Internet - URLs distributed later.


Online participation (in conferencing system)                         10%
Classroom participation (Thursday class)                               10%
Small print-based (10%) and online writing
assignments (15%)*                                                               25%
Collaborative work on course web-page contents**               20%
Research Paper (online or traditional)                                     20%
Final take-home exam                                                             15%

*Writing done on the FirstClass computer conferencing system.  Fairly regular weekly writing will be done in the Tuesday class; students at the end of the year will select 8 pieces from their year-long efforts and submit them as a portfolio; 2 new summative pieces will be added for a total of 10 short pieces of writing. Specific details about this assignment will be distributed later.  

** Everyone can create a home page (instructions will be given, and extra help will be available at the Computer-Assisted Writing Centre); this can include personal biographical links but we will concentrate on creating hypertext documents that relate to course materials that will be stored on the course web page.

Computer Accounts

-->accessible through Maya:

Even though we will be using a conferencing system (with separate logins) to communicate as a class, it is a good idea to have a York  email account.   Email addresses will be circulated within the class for ease of communication; these addresses will not be used EXCEPT for Sosc3990A business. 

You also need a computer account to give you access to the Laurence server which supports the Macintosh computers in 530 Scott Library.   We will be meeting and working in this lab throughout the year.  (This is also done through Maya and must be done by Sept. 19.)  

--> distributed September 19 in class

Your FirstClass Account will be distributed to you on Sept. 19 in the computer lab--but you need your Laurence account by then.

Mary-Louise Craven, Assiciate Professor,
Communication Studies Program, Social Science Division
York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3