Spring 2020 - CMNS 455W D100

Women and New Information Technologies (4)

Class Number: 1121

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units, including CMNS 253W.



Topics include the processes through which gendering of technologies takes place; information and communication technologies (ICTs), gender and public and private spheres; issues related to computerization of women's paid and unpaid work; and gender roles and the use of ICTs in relation to health; as well as the contributions which the study of gender and ICTs have made to theoretical debates within science, technology and society studies. Students with credit for CMNS 455 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


This seminar-style course explores the field of Feminist Science and Technology Studies (Feminist STS). The course begins by exploring how Feminist STS has approached technology as an object of study. We will ask what constitutes a technology within a feminist framework, and consider methods that feminist STS scholars have used to situate technologies in gendered contexts and communities of use. After establishing this basis, we will focus our learning on the relationship between gender, computing, and the internet. Problems to be explored include access to computing technologies, participation in computing industries, the gendered design of information systems, and the use of information and communication technologies for feminist activism. This is a writing intensive course intended to improve students’ skills in written communication. Toward this goal, students will practice various genres of writing across three assignments, and complete five, low-stakes in-class writing exercises.


  • In-class Writing Exercises (5 at 2% each) 10%
  • Short Writing Assignment: Writng for Online Audience 20%
  • Mid-length Writing Assignment: Writing an Opinion/Editorial 20%
  • Mid-length Writing Assignment: 6-page Scholarly Paper 20%
  • Group Seminar Leadership 15%
  • Attendance and Participation 15%


This is a writing-intensive course. Students who began their degrees in Fall 2006 onwards must successfully complete at least two (W) courses, at least one of which must be upper division, within the student’s discipline. It is strongly recommended that students take one (W) course as early as possible, preferably in their first 30 units.  Students are required to complete their first (W) course within their first 60 units.  Each (W) course must be at least 3 units and achieve at least a C- grade.

The School expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades.  In addition, the School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline. [Note: as of May 1, 2009 the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02), and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies.]  


A minimum 2.25 CMNS CGPA and 2.00 overall CGPA, and approval as a communication student is required for entry into most communication upper division courses.



Readings will be made available as PDFs On Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html