Emphasizing Embodiment, Intersectionality, and Access:
Social Justice Through Technofeminism Past, Present, and Future

Julie Collins Bates, Francis Macarthy, and Sarah Warren-Riley

We argue for the need to “pay attention” (Selfe, 1999) to the importance of early technofeminist work in relation to current and future social justice exigencies and the ways recent technologies (such as social media and virtual and augmented realities) simultaneously enable and limit intervention in specific contexts. In particular, we argue that technofeminist rhetorical analysis makes apparent the ways people succeed in using digital technologies for social justice interventions while also underscoring how issues of power and agency limit the potential of current and future digital technologies to transform some people’s lives, particularly the lives of people marginalized by race, socioeconomic status, gender, citizenship, age, disability, and/or more. We posit that even as technologies evolve, attention to intersectionality, embodiment, and access remain critically important for technofeminist scholars.

Although there are multiple exigencies that led us to collaborate on this project, our interest in technofeminism culminates from a shared origin: The three of us were first introduced to and inspired by technofeminist scholarship in spring 2015 while enrolled in a special topics course on digital rhetorics with Dr. Angela Haas. From there, we each moved in different directions with our scholarship. Recently, however, we realized that all of our work continues to intersect with technofeminism in different ways. After delivering a panel presentation together at the 2017 Computers & Writing conference, we decided that our work, together, offered a unique opportunity to highlight the ways that technofeminism was, is, and will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. This webtext is the result of that realization and our subsequent collaboration.

The structure of this webtext includes four main sections—Past, Present Case Study 1, Present Case Study 2, and Future, which wraps up our webtext and suggests possibilities for further engagement with a technofeminist approach to addressing current social justice exigencies. Readers may select any of the sections below and then return to this home page or use the links at the bottom of each page to access other sections. Although the titles of our sections appear to dictate a linear approach, we have designed this webtext to enable readers to interact with any given section at any point. Throughout the webtext, we also provide links to pages focused on specific concepts to highlight relevant scholarship that influences how we conceive of these concepts in relation to this project.

Ultimately, we argue here that a technofeminist rhetorical approach provides important insights into a complicated confluence of bodies, technologies, and composition practices and the ways that these mutually influence one another. As technologically mediated communication spaces increasingly influence our everyday lives, we believe that this approach provides a foundation to work from and expand upon as we strive to enact social justice through our research and pedagogy.