Intersectional Feminist Approaches to Teaching and Learning
In the context of modern computer programming, the origin tale of code often begins with the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine invented by Charles Babbage in 19th century Europe. This beginning, buoyed by the industrial revolution and militarization, fostered an embedded set of values into computation aligned with an ideology of standardization, optimization, and flawlessness. “Good” code is efficient code that operates on a scarcity mindset, limited by hardware and energy resources.
And yet, there are histories to math, engineering, and computing that are less prominently recognized because they do not neatly fit into the narratives of capitalist production. Ada Lovelace and her contribution to the development of modern computing has only recently been more broadly recognized. Textile production, which led to the invention of the Jacquard Loom, was a great inspiration to Charles Babbage’s research. Gendered and racialized preconceptions greatly impact what is validated as technical and creative work. We believe that it is time to confront how computational history has been retrofitted to tell a single narrative by recentering marginalized ways of knowing. For example, one may trace back to poe divination to gain a new perspective on the boolean variables. Quipu may be seen as one of the oldest examples of data storage. Fractals, which are often reduced to mathematical formulas in computer science classrooms can be traced back to multiple beginnings throughout ancient history such as traditional African architecture.
The Critical Coding Cookbook perceives history as a messy entanglement rather than a linear graph. There is a growing awareness towards reclaiming ancestral knowledge and a movement to decolonize computation. Through centering marginalized bodies and identities, we aim to build a collection of alternative histories, narratives, and approaches to computation. This volume of material can serve as an open-source educational resource across a spectrum of learning communities.
What are We Looking for
We are seeking work that illustrates how to interrogate, deconstruct, and decolonize, the teaching and learning of code from an intersectional feminist lens. Contributions can take the form of assignments, activities, projects, code examples, collaborative tools, and/or case studies. These should be formatted with clear instructions that can be replicated (like a recipe) for someone else to follow. The goal is to share.
We are especially interested in contributions that outline specific approaches that integrate intersectional feminist theory and concepts with practice-based code instruction.
Why are We doing this?
Currently there are not many resources available to consult for examples of code pedagogy and practice that engages with the intersectional dynamics of social, economic, racial, disability and gender-based oppression. Historically, work by people occupying/addressing multiple marginalized identities has been rendered invisible in technology discourse. As a result, the history of code and code pedagogy has operated from a white, western, rational discourse, which comes with a colonial, militaristic, and eugenicist world view.
As artists and designers who use code both in teaching and practice we are interested in organizing alternative approaches to this topic so that we can collectively build, change, alter the way we learn and teach code.
We plan to publish digitally under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-A-like 4.0 license which allows for adaptations of work to be shared with attribution as long as others share alike, and non-commercial (profit-driven) use of the work.
August 15th, 2021
We are collecting the following information to be included in the recipe:
- Short description (250 words)
- Three keywords that reflect the themes of your recipe
- Long description (500~800 words)
Please respond to the following questions in your description:
- What is the context or background that inspired your recipe?
- Which community are you offering the recipe to?
- How does your submission relate to intersectional feminism?
- Images (optional)
- Image credits
- Alt-text description for the image
- Confirmation of coverage under open-source license
We will provide an honorarium to all the contributors.