Studying Gender in the 21st Century

Digital Gender, Theory, Methodology, and Practice is a joined collaboration between HUMlab, UCGS , and – to some extent – Informatics at Umeå University, and will take place on the 12th–14th of March 2014.

So, How did we (the organising team) come up with this idea? Well, we consider the digital sphere as an overt space where old conflicts resurface, in different ways and via different media. After the 1990s, the rapid expansion of ICT in industry and academia has spawned a vast amount of research and practice on a variety of issues regarding the digital, from virtual identities to cyber-bullying and cyber-crime. Indeed, digital environments offer an overt space for political/institutional debate, education, cultural heritage as well as leisure, pleasure and consumption. In the same breath, they communicate gender representation, narratives, discourse, ideology, and performance; Alongside the emergence of the field of Digital Humanities, concepts of gender in digital culture have been underplayed in scholarship with very recent sporadic and rather discipline-specific exceptions (some seminal scholarship and further initiatives can be found here:


The argument for this is that technological innovations and ubiquitous technologies are undergoing such a fast-paced metamorphosis that any attempt to examine social profiles can reflect on current analogue environments and vice versa. There is, however, still debate whether digital communities and the use of technology are tangible and bound by traditional and communal criteria such as explicit group demarcations, governing rules, participatory culture, recognition by external authorities, political implications, and other mechanisms for monitoring behaviors and conflict resolutions.


The workshop aims to bring together several strong research environments beyond geographical and institutional boundaries. The event will be hosted by HUMlab at Umeå University, which also facilitates papers delivered by scholars from geographically remote environments via technological equipment. It aims to offer an opportunity for an open dialogue between scholars as well as opening new leeways for scholarly and empirical collaborations between international scholars, and institutions.

We see this workshop as the glorious beginning of an on-going cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional, and cross-geographical collaboration with a strong focus on gender research in the digital sphere.


Our long-term plan is to create a series of workshops on gender, informed by design and technology. Furthermore, the project aims to expand beyond scholarly dissemination by taking into consideration activism and current debates on social equality with the purpose to inform digital commerce and industry.


Unfortunately, all places for the workshop are now taken, however, feel free to attend the open keynote speeches, delivered by scholars of international calibre:


March 12, Venue: HUMlab

(below the University Library)

09:40–10:30 – Keynote: Movement Knowledge: Science of the Oppressed from the Transborder Immigrant Tool to Autonets (open)
Micha Cardénas, Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab/University of Southern California, USA.


March 13, Venue: HUMlabX

15:00–16:00 – Keynote: Remixing gender studies: Methodological provocations for creative innovation (open). Annette Markham, Information Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark, Guest Professor, Department of Informatics,
 Umeå University, Sweden


Digital gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice is made possible via first aid [sic] from the Strong Research Environment Scheme (UCGS) and the generous financial support from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ). This event would not be realised without the valuable contribution of HUMlab both in terms of finances, as well as human resources. HUMlab’s unique pot pourri of professionals and progressive technological equipment, combined with the very fact that it is a vibrant meeting place for the humanities, culture, and information technology at Umeå University, facilitated our innovative vision for the workshop to the topmost point.


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