“TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance”

The Hotel Roanoke, Roanoke VA, April 25-27, 2019



Keynote addresses from:

Ruha Benjamin

Dean Spade


Proposal Deadline: November 1, 2018

Submit to:


Gender, Bodies, & Technology (GBT) is an initiative within Women’s and Gender Studies at Virginia Tech that aims to explore the multiple, proliferating, and gendered dimensions of technologized bodies and embodied technologies. Through our initiative and interdisciplinary conference, we foreground research, theories, and performances that highlight the discursive and material nodes around which gender, bodies, and technologies both cohere and fracture. We invite scholars, activists, and artists from the humanities, social and natural sciences, visual and performing arts, life sciences, disability studies, STEM fields, and queer and feminist science studies to submit papers, panels, workshops, new media, art, film, and performance pieces that explore the intersections of gender, bodies & technology in contexts ranging from political protests and citizen science labs to electoral hacking and the #MeToo movement. How, we ask, might topics such as gene editing technologies, facial recognition software, Big Data, environmental crises, or Black superheroes produce new lines of inquiry when filtered through a GBT perspective?


Much has occurred since we last convened in 2016, including widespread and well documented election meddling, a global rise of authoritarian populism, corporate deregulation alongside a concerted attack on environmental science and protections, and an unprecedented blurring of the lines between fact, fiction, and “fake news.” TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance homes in on these technologically-enabled crises, asking how analyses of gender, race, disability, and/or queerness can structure our immediate and ongoing responses. To that end, TechnoLogics explicitly invokes figures of resistance--such as newly elected transgender member of the Virginia House of Delegates Danica Roem, water protectors at Standing Rock and pipeline protesters across Appalachia, and speculative fiction writer NK Jemisin, the first Black author to win the Best Novel Hugo award--whose individual practices can inspire our collective imaginaries. Such figures, via their engagements with electoral, environmental, and truth-telling politics, remind us that resistance is central to power’s proliferation, that it transcends the immediate political moment, and that contradictions inhere in technologically-mediated problems and solutions. What does Roem’s victory signify in the context of an increasingly transphobic presidential administration? How might we interpret the use of military-derived drone technologies to document the actions of and police responses to pipeline protests? What is the relationship between speculative fiction and “alternative facts,” and what role do either play in imagining feminist, queer, disabled, and racially just futures? TechnoLogics aims to capture the breadth and dynamism of resistance movements, practices, and figures that have emerged in the wake of--and that transcend--the 2016 US presidential election. We also seek to explore and complicate what these and other movements can teach us about power, and about how technology is invoked, deployed, manipulated, exploited, and imagined in order to harness and reimagine that power.


Virginia Tech is an especially apt location from which to explore these topics, with nationally recognized advancements in the fields of robotics, drone and autonomous vehicle technologies, and cryptocurrencies. Appalachia is home to two contested pipelines, and the VT campus still mourns the thirty two lives that were lost to a mass shooter in 2007. With campuses in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and the DC-Capital region, Virginia Tech is committed to solving extant and emerging complex problems on a regional, national, and global scale. Inspired by keynote addresses from Ruha Benjamin and Dean Spade, we aim for #GBT2019 to put participants’ local realities into wider conversations about how resistance can and must be intersectionally enacted, how it must center disabled, queer, and other non-dominant and non-human bodies, and how to build and imagine from critically resistant perspectives.


We invite papers, workshops, performance pieces, films, and panel proposals that address the Gender—Bodies—Technology interface. Proposals should be submitted by November 1 2018 to



Though proposals should NOT be strictly limited to the conference theme, topics might include:


  • Mass detention and incarceration; border walls and violent border technologies; xenophobia and immigration imaginaries; “family” detention centers and family separation technologies
  • Political corruption; explicit and high-level ableism, racism, xenophobia, transphobia, and misogyny
  • Journalistic integrity, truth-telling, and “fake news”
  • Voter suppression; data mining and electoral manipulation; the political exploitation of big data
  • Drones; autonomous vehicle technologies; surveillance, containment, in/security and militarization
  • Automation and workplace displacement; the gig economy and minimum wage; receding workplace protections
  • “Tech bros”; sexual harassment in STEM fields and elsewhere
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Social media and hashtag activism, e.g., #MeToo, #SayHerName, #YesAllWomen
  • CRISPR, gene editing technologies, and disabilities; fetal anomalies and abortion politics
  • Digitized democracy
  • Technologies of safety: self-defense, law enforcement, Title IX
  • Single payer health care; the ACA; Medicaid work requirements. Disability activism and new health care imaginaries.
  • Mass shootings and toxic masculinity; gun control; the “boyfriend loophole”  
  • White nationalism, Charlottesville, and technologies of racial terror
  • Indivisible, #TheResistance; formal and informal modes of resistance
  • Abortion access, gag rules, Planned Parenthood
  • Gender in environmental activism and climate change research; feminist and queer perspectives on fossil fuels and extractive industries
  • Citizen and DIY science; anti-science
  • Beyonce, Lemonade, and intimate truth-telling
  • Body positivity; fat studies; fat activism
  • Protest marches: Women’s March, March for our Lives, Marches for Science
  • Pussy hats and radical crafting; pussy hats and trans identities; pussy hats and biological essentialism
  • Military technologies; transphobia and sexual assault and/in the military
  • Technologies of the Anthropocene and/or Chthulucene
  • Artificial intelligence, facial recognition software, and technoscientific “gaydar”
  • Feminist and genderqueer futures; technologies of kinship and belonging
  • The future of aging and anti-aging technologies
  • Gender and pharmaceuticals: hormone blockers; gendered bodies of the future
  • Resistance within and against popular culture; virtual bodies as resistant; fashion technologies
  • Pipeline resistance and water activism: Standing Rock, Appalachia, and Flint
  • “Tradition” vis a vis technology
  • Queer and feminist science fiction; Afro-futurism
  • Biopolitics and medical engineering of reproduction, sexual identity, and gender
  • Technologies of development and sustainability; eco-feminism
  • Activism, participatory decision-making, and technological citizenship  


As always, we encourage innovative uses of technology and creative session formats, including performance and interactive presentations, as well as traditional paper presentations. We explicitly invite performances of any length; we are especially interested in those that can be part of traditional panels, as we strive to put these forms of intellectual and creative production in conversation. We are committed to complementing traditional paper presentations from the social sciences, STEM, and humanities fields with scholarship and performance from the creative arts.


Proposal deadline is November 1, 2018. Please submit a 300-350 word abstract, with title, contact information, and presentation requirements to For panels, include an abstract for the panel and one for each presentation. Please specify in your proposal any anticipated technological and/or space requirements. We request early contact by email if space and/or technology requirements might present logistical challenges for a hotel-based conference.


For more information or questions please contact:

Christine Labuski/GBT Coordinator and Conference Director

Women's and Gender Studies Program

Department of Sociology

Virginia Tech

McBryde Hall (0137)

Blacksburg, VA, 24061 USA;