Spring 2024 - CMNS 455W D100

Women and New Information Technologies (4)

Class Number: 1077

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Thu, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    26 CMNS units with a minimum grade of C- or 60 units with a minimum CGPA of 2.00.



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 course explores the field of Feminist Science and Technology Studies (Feminist STS). We will look beyond the role of women outlined in the official course title and calendar description to consider gender more broadly, including transgender perspectives, and take a strong focus on the relationship between gender, race, sexuality, and ability. 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 how gender structures databases, participation in computing industries, the gendered and racialized design of search engines, networks, and other 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 choose a topic related to the course that interests them, and practice writing about that topic across three different genres.


  • Learn key perspectives and methods in the field of Feminist Science and Technology Studies and demonstrate the application of these perspectives to the analysis of contemporary issues
  • Develop skills reading and interpreting theory
  • Develop and demonstrate writing skills across new genres that students may not have explored before in class


  • Low-Stakes Writing Exercises (6 total) 10%
  • Writing Assignment 1 (800 words): Writing for Online Audience 30%
  • Writing Assignment 2 (1200 words): Writing an Opinion/Editorial 30%
  • Writing Assignment 3: (2000 words) Twine Game 30%


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). For further information see: www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/index.html.



Course readings will be made available as PDFs through the course CANVAS site.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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