Women's Studies 30

Women and Technology

Spring 2002, Prof. E. Carr Everbach

class meetings: Tuesday/Thursday 9:55 -11:10 am in Trotter 315

Office Hours: MWF 10-11 am in Hicks 217 or sign up for a timeslot on my door


Each class meeting will begin with a (mulitple) student summary of the assigned readings, so prior reading of the material is mandatory. The texts will be distributed as photocopied excerpts in class or available on reserve in McCabe library.


Course Descripton

The course explores the relationships between women and technology in western industrial society. Three aspects to be considered are the effect of technology on women, the role of female technologists in shaping that technology, and the effect on technology of average women acting as consumers, voters, and citizens. Students will research an area of personal interest and make a presentation to the class. Possible topics include reproductinve technologies, the internet, feminist utopias in science fiction, and others. Expected workload is two long papers and several short ones, with no midterm, final, or labs.

This interdisciplinary one-credit course does not fulfill a college-wide distribution requirement, but for the concentration in Women's Studies, it can be counted as a course in the Natural Sciences.






Jan. 22


Introduction to Engineering and engineering methods. Feminist views on epistomology and the objectivity of Science. Designing the structure of this course. What should the course be called?

Jan. 24


Epistomology of Science and Engineering, continued. Finish designing course structure.



Historical background of technology. Valence in technology.

  • "Knowers, Knowing, Known: Feminist Theory and Claims of Truth," by Mary Hawesworth in Gender and Scientific Authority (1996), pp. 89-99.
  • "Women and the Assessment of Technology: to Think, to Be; to Unthink, to Free," by Corlann Gee Bush in Machina Ex Dea (1983), pp. 151-168.

Jan. 31


Prehistory of technology, European attitudes toward the technologies of other cultures.

In class video: Amanda Willett, Gendering the Product

Feb. 5


Herstory of the Effect of Technology on Women

Feb. 7


Herstory continued

Martha More Trescott, Dynamos and Virgins Revisited: Women and Technological Change in History, Part II articles:

  • Technology and Women's Work:The Lives of Working Class Women in Pittsburgh, 1870-1900
  • "Industrial Revolution" in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change.

Feb. 12


National Research Council, Computer Chips and Paper Clips: Technology and Women's Employment, vol 2, article:

  • Machines Instead of Clerks: Technology and the Feminization of Bookkeeping, 1910-1950. (pgs 63-97)

Barbara Drygulski Wright, Women, Work, and Technology: Transformations

  • Introduction (p. 10-20)
  • (in Part 1) Technology , Industrialization, and the Economic Status of Women (25 pages).

Feb. 14


Barbara Drygulski Wright, Women, Work, and Technology: Transformations, articles:

  • Contested Terrain Revisited: Technology and Gender Definitions of Work in the Printing Industry 1850-1920, (26 pages)
  • "A Blessing to Mankind, and Especially Womankind": The Typewriter and the Feminization of Clerical Work, Boston, 1860-1920, (17 pages).

Feb. 19


Barbara Drygulski Wright, Women, Work, and Technology: Transformations, articles:

  • "For the Good of the Race": Reproductive hazards from Lead and the Persistence of Exclusionary Policies toward Women (17 pages)

Jennifer Terry and Melodie Calvert, "Introduction: Machine/Lives" in Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life, pp. 1-6.

Feb. 21


articles in Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life:

  • Nina Wakeford "Networking Women and Grrrls with Information/Communication Technology: surfing tales of the world wide web" (pp. 51-66)
  • Sara Diamond "Taylor's Way: Women, Cultures and Technology" (pp. 81-94)

Feb. 26


Developmental Issues for young girls

Martha More Trescott, Dynamos and Virgins Revisited: Women and Technological Change in History, article:

  • Toys, Technology and Sex Roles in America, 1920-1940, (17 pages)

Feb. 28


Special guest lecture by Scott Gilbert


Mar. 5


Role of Female Scientists and Technologists

  • "Women Hold Up Two-Thirds of the Sky," by Autumn Stanley in Machina Ex Dea (1983), pp. 5-22
  • "Women, Science, and Popular Mythology," by Evelyn Fox Keller in Machina Ex Dea (1983), pp. 130-146.

Mar. 7


Female Scientists and Technologists, continued.

  • "Feminist Scholarship in the Sciences," by Sue Rosser in Hypatia
  • "Physics and Engineering in the Classroom" by Indira Nair and Sara Majetich in Teaching the Majority, pp. 25-42.

Mar 7 & 9


SPRING BREAK (no meetings)

Mar. 19


  • "Lillian Moller Gilbreth and the Founding of Modern Industrial Engineering," by Trescott in Machina Ex Dea, pp. 23-35.

Barbara Drygulski Wright, Women, Work, and Technology: Transformations, article:

  • The Patent Office Clerk as Conjurer: The Vanishing Lady Trick in a Nineteenth-Century Historical Source (21 pages).

Mar. 21


  • student presentations on articles about Rosylin Franklin, Ann Sayre, Barbara McClintock, and others

Mar. 26


Reproductive Technologies

G. Corea et al., Man-Made Women: How Reproductive Technologies Affect Women, articles:

  • Prenatal and prconception sex choice technology: Path to femicide?
  • The continuing deficit of women in India and the impact of amniocentesis.

Mar. 28


Reproductive Technologies continued



Reproductive Technologies continued

G. Corea et al., Man-Made Women: How Reproductive Technologies Affect Women, articles:

  • Sex choice: survival and sisterhood
  • What's 'new' about the 'new' reproductive technologies?

Apr. 4


Reproductive Technologies continued

G. Corea et al., Man-Made Women: How Reproductive Technologies Affect Women, articles

  • Motherhood, patriarchal power, alienation and the issue of 'choice' in sex selection
  • Transforming consciousness: women and the new reproductive technologies.


Apr. 9


student presentations on reproductive technologies

Apr. 11


Toward Feminist Technology and Engineering

  • "What If...Feminist Utopias in Science and Technology" in Machina Ex Dea, pp. 198-211.

Apr. 16



Apr. 18



Apr. 23



Apr. 30



May 2



Final Paper Projects due by 5 pm. on May 10, 2002.


Course Bibliography (Partial)

Adas, Michael, Machines as the Measure of Men (1989) (T15.A33 1989)

Bayes, Michael D., Reproductive Ethics (Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey, 1984) (QP 251.B34 1984) (136 pages)

Bleier, Ruth, "Sex Difference Research: Science or Belief" in Feminist Approaches to Science, (R. Bleier, ed), Pergamon Press, NY. , pp. 147- 164 (1986).

Cohen, Judith Love, You Can Be A Woman Engineer, CD-ROM (Cascade Pass, Inc., 1996)

Corea, G., et al., Man-Made Women: How reproductive Technologies Affect Women (Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1987)

Donchin, Anne, Procreation, Power and Subjectivity: Feminist Approaches to New Reproductive Technologies, (Wellesley College, Center for Research on Women, 1993)

Fairfield, Roy P., ed., Humanizing the Workplace

Galison, Peter, and David Stump, The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power (Stanford Univ. Press, 1996) (ISBN 0-8047-2562-4) (Q175.D6636 1996)

Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution (HQ 1426.H33)

Laslett, Barbara, ed. et al, Gender and Scientific Authority, (Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1996)(Q130.G44 1996)(449 pages)

McHenry, Robert, ed., Her Heritage, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Famous American Women, CD-ROM (Pilgrim New Media, 1997) (ISBN 1-885213-07-7)

McIntosh, Peggy. "Interactive Phases of Curricular Re-Vision: A Feminist Perspective." Working Paper No. 124. Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. 1983.

Meyer, Cheryl L., The Wandering Uterus:Politics and the Reproductive Rights of Women, (New York University Press, New York, 1997) (RG 133.5 M48 1997)(197 pages)

Moir, Anne, and David Jessel, Brain Sex (Delta, Dell Publ.Co., 1991) (ISGN 0-385-31183-4) (QP81.5 .M65 1991)

Raymond, Janice G., Women as Wombs; Reproductive Technologies and the Battle Over Women's Freedom, (Harper, SanFranciso, New York, 1993) (RG 133.5 R38 1993) (209 pages)

Rosser, Sue V., ed., Teaching the Majority: Breaking the Gender Barrier in Science, Mathmatics and Engineering (Teachers College Press, NY and London, 1995) (ISBN 0-8077-6276-8) (Q181.T3538 1995)

Rosser, Sue V., "Feminist Scholarship in the Sciences," Hypatia, vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 1987), pp. 3-14.

Rothschild, ed., Machina Ex Dea (Pergamon Press, 1983) (T14.5 .M3 1983)

Rothenberg, Karen H. And Elizabeth J. Thompson, Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology, (Columbus, Ohio State University Press, 1994) (RG 628.W65 1994) (304 pages)

Rowland, Robyn, Living Laboratories; Women and Reproductive Technologies, (Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1992) (Biology, RG 133.5.R685 1992) (303 pages)

Sargent, Carolyn F. and Caroline D. Sargent, Gender and Health: An International Perspective, (New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1996)

Spallone, Patricia and Deborah Lynn Stienberg, eds, Made to Order; The Myth of Reproductive and Genetic Progress, (Pergamon Press, New York, 1987) (QP 251.M278 1987)(213 pages)

Stanworth, Michelle, ed, Reproductive Technologies:Gender, Motherhood and Medicine, (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1987) (QP251.R444 1987) (190 pages)

Terry, Jennifer, and Calvert, Melodie, eds., Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life, (Routledge, London, United Kingdom 1997) (HQ 1233.P76 1997)(248 pages)

Trescott, Martha More, Dynamos and Virgins Revisited: Women and Technological Change in History, (New Jersey, The Scarecrow

Return to Women's Studies Homepage

Send message to Swarthmore College Women's Studies

last updated 1/21/02