TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance

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. We foreground research, theories, and performance that highlight the discursive and material nodes around which gender, bodies, and technologies both cohere and fracture. 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?

Our conference, TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance, asks how analyses of gender, race, disability, and/or queerness can structure our immediate and ongoing responses to technologically-enabled crises, such as election hacking and environmental degradation. We aim 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.

Located in central Appalachia, and recognized for its research in robotics and autonomous vehicle technologies, Virginia Tech is an especially apt location from which to explore these topics. 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.