Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture / Edition 1

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Most writing on cyberculture is dominated by two almost mutually exclusive visions: the heroic image of the male outlaw hacker and the utopian myth of a gender-free cyberworld. Reload offers an alternative picture of cyberspace as a complex and contradictory place where there is oppression as well as liberation. It shows how cyberpunk's revolutionary claims conceal its ultimate conservatism on matters of class, gender, and race. The cyberfeminists writing here view cyberculture as a social experiment with an as-yet-unfulfilled potential to create new identities, relationships, and cultures.The book brings together women's cyberfiction—fiction that explores the relationship between people and virtual technologies—and feminist theoretical and critical investigations of gender and technoculture. From a variety of viewpoints, the writers consider the effects of rapid and profound technological change on culture, in particular both the revolutionary and reactionary effects of cyberculture on women's lives. They also explore the feminist implications of the cyborg, a human-machine hybrid. The writers challenge the conceptual and institutional rifts between high and low culture, which are embedded in the texts and artifacts of cyberculture.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Women writers, many of them lesbian feminists, have begun to explore the relationships between humans and machines. Along the way, they are rethinking how race, class, and gender affect technological change, especially given the growing gap between those with access to equipment and those without it. The entries in Reload 11 pieces of fiction and 17 critical essays assess the ways technology has, or will, affect female life. Take, for example, the notion that cyberspace levels the playing field by allowing users to don whatever identity they choose. According to contributor Lisa Nakamura, "when users are free to choose their own race, all were presumed to be white. And many of those who adopted nonwhite personae turned out to be white male users masquerading as exotic samurai and horny geishas." Chilling as this is, cyberspace remains a positive "place" for many users; writer Sharon Cumberland reminds us that women's chat rooms are often valued precisely because of the anonymity offered. Reload is filled with provocative and often contradictory glimpses into cyberculture. Unfortunately, too much of the collection is steeped in technobabble, rendering it of limited use to a general audience. Recommended for academic libraries and specialized collections only. Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262561501
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 596
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Flanagan is Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities,Director of the Tiltfactor game research laboratory, and Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Critical Play: Radical Game Design (MIT Press).

Austin Booth is Director of Collections and Research Services at State University of New York at Buffalo.

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Table of Contents

Illustration Credits
Editors and Contributors
Introduction 1
2 Women's Cyberfiction: An Introduction 25
3 (Learning About) Machine Sex (fiction) [1988] 48
4 Trouble and Her Friends [excerpt] (fiction) [1994] 64
5 Striking Cyborgs: Reworking the "Human" in Marge Piercy's He, She and It (criticism) 85
6 The Ship Who Sang (fiction) [1961] 107
7 Entrada (fiction) [1993] 123
8 A CyberRoom of One's Own (criticism) 148
9 The Ethical Dimension of Cyberfeminism (criticism) 158
10 The Five Wives of Ibn Fadlan: Women's Collaborative Fiction on Antonio Banderas Web Sites (criticism) 175
11 Correspondence [excerpt] (fiction) [1991] 195
12 Doing It Digitally: Rosalind Brodsky and the Art of Virtual Female Subjectivity (criticism) 209
13 Virtually Visible: Female Cyberbodies and the Medical Imagination (criticism) 239
14 No Woman Born (fiction) [1944] 261
15 (Re)reading Queerly: Science Fiction, Feminism, and the Defamiliarization of Gender (criticism) 301
16 After/Images of Identity: Gender, Technology, and Identity Politics (criticism) 321
17 Shooting up Heroines (criticism) 332
18 Girl Erupted (criticism) 355
19 Cyborg Feminism: The Science Fiction of Octavia E. Butler and Gloria Anzaldua (criticism) 374
20 Speech Sounds (fiction) [1983] 403
21 Virtual Girl [excerpt] (fiction) [1993] 415
22 Hyperbodies, Hyperknowledge: Women in Games, Women in Cyberpunk, and Strategies of Resistance (criticism) 425
23 Proxies [excerpt] (fiction) [1998] 461
24 "The Postproduction of the Human Heart": Desire, Identification, and Virtual Embodiment in Feminist Narratives of Cyberspace (criticism) 469
25 A Real Girl (fiction) [1998] 505
26 Assembling Bodies in Cyberspace: Technologies, Bodies, and Sexual Difference (criticism) 519
27 Shockingly Tech-splicit: The Performance Politics of Orlan and Other Cyborgs (criticism) 539
28 The Girl Who Was Plugged In (fiction) [1973] 546
Index 578
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