This semester in my Gender and Technological Change class we’ve talked a lot about how gender and technology intertwine to impact our daily lives. Throughout, the class has tried to push you to get outside of your own particular way of seeing the world in order to come to new conclusions. One of the best ways to do this is to get outside of one’s own context, so that’s what this next assignment asks you to do.
Actually, that’s only half true. Historically, you’ll be asked to range far and wide, but geographically, you’ll be right at home. For this assignment I’m asking you to say something about gender in IIT history by using the university archives that detail our institute’s past.
Most of the archives are not online, so this assignment may require you to go into Galvin Library where the paper copies are held. Old-fashioned, yes–but much more of our cultural and historical heritage is offline than online. (You can use our class time this Thursday to go in to Galvin.)
Some rich resources have been digitized, however, including all the back issues of the IIT student newspapers since their inception in 1928. This issue from 1970, for instance, is a cornucopia of gendered tension, from its articles on the in loco parentis university rules for “coeds,” to a computer program for heterosexual romance, to abortion advertisements. Indeed, the archives of Tech News could make for a very insightful essay on gender in IIT history, with some careful and strategic use of search terms.
Your blog comment should do 3 things:
1. State the research question you came up with before going into the archives or as you looked through the archives (i.e. what question were you trying to answer?).
2. Discuss change over time in some way.
3. Make a connection between something you’ve learned in the archives and something you’ve learned in class.
Make sure to cite the resources you use (ask the archivists for help if you’re not sure how). If the items you use are online, include a URL to the particular document you’re referencing.
Your comment should be at least 600 words and no longer than 1200 words. Your post is due Monday, 3/25 by 5pm. Please also bring a print-out or electronic copy to class on Tuesday, 3/26 as you will be asked to present your findings to the class.
Below is a gallery of some choice snippets from old issues of Tech News to get you thinking about topics and search terms: