Symposium Documentation

Abstracts & Recordings from the “What is a Feminist Lab?” Symposium,” April 2019

Symposium preview:

Session 1: Elizabeth Losh & Darren Wershler

Elizabeth Losh
“Hacking Academic Selves: The Equality Lab at William and Mary”
Abstract: The Equality Lab provides an environment to foster collaborative and interdisciplinary research by using digital tools to answer fundamental questions about the nature of equality across many different domains. It recognizes that the concept of equality itself presents us with a contested and volatile term that urges testing, experimenting, tinkering, and questioning among members of research communities. It seeks to build an active and engaged cohort among undergraduate and graduate students by gathering student researchers interested in understanding the historical, philosophical, legal, religious, aesthetic, rhetorical, or technological features of longstanding inequities, patterns of privilege, or domination of oppressed peoples and creates a space to ask big questions about how equality has been defined in different places at different times in history and study how equality (and inequality) can be represented in scholarly works by mapping, digging, and tracing the available data from aggregated surveys, interviews, field notes, maps, and other sources that can be mined for information, as well as digital corpora and archives.

Darren Wershler
“Home Economics and the Extended Laboratory”
Abstract: Labs are far more than walls, equipment, infrastructure and people. They are shaped by cultural policy, and they reshape that policy in turn. In addition to scientific discovery, then, labs produce new kinds of citizens with new relationships to cultural industry. “Home Economics and the Extended Laboratory” recounts some of the ways in which Home Economics labs on the Canadian prairies were directly involved in Canadian agricultural policy and industry for the entire 20th century.

Session 2: Ashley Baccus-Clark & Jacqueline Wernimont

Ashley Baccus-Clark
“What Role Does Immersive Storytelling Play in the Exploration of Black Speculative Futures?”
Abstract: Using the framework of science, critical investigation, and speculative design, we’ve created a transdisciplinary lab to help us imagine new futures.

Jacqueline Wernimont (in collaboration with Nikki Stevens)
“From Lab to Cooperative: A Feminist Infrastructural Reimagining”
Abstract: This talk thinks about how cooperative models of labor, credit, and organizing can help to reimagine the lab model utilized in both the sciences and, increasingly, digital humanities.

Session 3: Tara McPherson & Marisa Parham

Tara McPherson
“Designing While Feminist”
Abstract: This talk will discuss the collaborative work of the Vectors’ team through many years of digital design and also talk about the team’s current location with USC’s libraries. It will discuss both the possibilities and the difficulties of conceptualizing software and digital projects motivated by feminist intent.

Marisa Parham
“Everything New Is”
Abstract: This presentation will offer a meditation on how we critique and navigate the real problem of wanting to make new things with old structures. What is the work that “gets done” in a lab, and how might feminist approaches help us set evaluate our goals for such structures?

Session 4: Ingrid Burrington (Unrecorded) & Max Liboiron

Ingrid Burrington
“Scamming for Radicals” (Unrecorded)
Abstract: This talk will address the challenges of politically engaged labs as housed in or funded by large institutions and/or corporations, the limits of attempting critique entirely from a so-called outside, and the subtle art of scamming for collective liberation.

Max Liboiron
“How to Titrate Like a Feminist”
Abstract: More than just a women-run lab, Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) is a marine science lab that incorporates the values of equity and humility into every aspect of our scientific and technological research, including how we design and share technology, how we aim to make science place-based, how we determine author order in academic papers, how we share data, and who should be part of “peer review. ” Dr. Max Liboiron, Director of CLEAR, will share some of the methodologies and challenges of conducting feminist science.