[Air-l] sources on gendering of technology?

Brown, Karl KBrown at rockfound.org
Mon Jul 23 06:31:42 PDT 2007

I did some research on this while at school and found the following sources useful:

1) Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life
Edited by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe and Misa Matsuda
Includes interesting research about the use of mobile phones and computers by housewives in Japan, as well as a story of how teenage girls turned the business-focused pager into a text-messaging device.

2) Michèle Martin. "Hello, Central?" Gender, Technology and Culture in the Formation of Telephone Systems. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991.
Great book on the gendered use of the telephone.

3) Sadie Plant. Zeros + Ones: Digital Women + The New Technoculture. Doubleday, New York, 1997.
Not really research per se, but a creative blend of fiction and nonfiction in the cyberfeminist genre that draws on research in gender studies of technology and weaves an alternative history of the central role women have played in the development of technology. A fun read. Points out, for example, that early computers were often women calculating artillery tables with slide rules...the word computer originally meant "a person who computes" (see also "The Age of Female Computers" -> http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/12/skinner.htm)

Karl Brown
Associate Director, Applied Technology
The Rockefeller Foundation | 420 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10018
email: kbrown at rockfound.org  | tel: (212) 852-8363

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