Technology, Power, Subjectivity: Case of New Reproductive Technologies and Women’s Bodies

Technology, like science, is often seen as augmenting the masculinist project of the domination and control of women and nature. Therefore, feminists have long indulged themselves with questions around technology, especially looking at the impact of new technologies on women’s lives. Technology, being a form of knowledge and discourse in itself, is often imbued with the power to control bodies. With the increasing use of New Reproductive Technologies, which make women’s bodies their primary site, the feminists’ debate around its relation to women’s bodies have increased. Taking the theoretical ideas behind such arguments and looking at differences in contexts, it is imperative to elaborate on the constitution of women “subjects” through such technologies. Re-analysing such debates may throw some ideas on how women subjectivities are constituted differently across contexts, and it will also make us realize how technologies may get entangled with social evils like class, caste, religion, and gender.

Using a Responsive Interactive Program to Enhance Daily Travel Feedback

The purpose of this paper is to explore how individuals responded to a robust and interactive daily travel feedback program. Fifty individuals from the Moscow, Idaho, area participated in a before-and-after study using an Android-based device that continuously logged their physical movement. All participants subsequently received an email each day linking them to a website that showed one-to-five trips, predicted their mode of travel and trip purpose, and asked specific questions related to their daily travel. Based on the cumulative results of this study, participants reacted favorably to the ease of use; visual feedback; and information related to travel time, associated costs, and energy usage. Although the travel feedback program did not influence a dramatic change in travel behavior or mode during this two-week study, the lessons learned regarding methodology and implementation provide researchers and practitioners with valuable insight for future travel feedback or user nudging studies.

Cyber-infrastructure and the Right to the City

When Google rolled out Google Fiber, its new fiber optic network, in Kansas City, Missouri for the first time in 2012, it revealed deep racial and economic divides in the city. This undermined Google’s claim that Google Fiber would help solve the nation’s digital divide, but it helps us understand some of the ways infrastructure and inequality intertwine. My interest here is to explore the connection between cyberinfrastructure and inequality with regard to the situated play of visibilities enacted when the boundaries of citizenship are advanced or hindered by infrastructure. I will examine the ways public interest features in legal, discursive, and material shifts that relate to changes in broadband technology. Through interviews with public officials and brokers in Kansas City and a discursive analysis of policy, I will address the impact of Google’s experimental model of infrastructure on the city. This case study will demonstrate that the cultural realities of underserved sectors of cities have the potential to become less visible when privatized, demand-driven infrastructural models are implemented.

Designing the Perfect Video Conference Room with the End Users in Mind: Telepresence without the High Cost

Videoconferencing has long had a bad reputation as an ineffective means of communication, including distance learning in the education field. We break those barriers by introducing the design elements and ideas that were implemented at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to design and construct a videoconferencing room that simulates a telepresence environment. The heart of the design incorporates certain elements to make the far-end participants feel as life-like as possible for the local participants, and in the process making communication more effective. There are several telepresence systems and full-fledged room installations on the market that are extremely expensive and essentially out of reach for many schools, universities, businesses, and other organizations. Our solution eliminates the need for hiring expensive consultants and audio-visual specialists and instead focuses on very simple design elements that will simulate a high-end telepresence experience for users, all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional video conference room. Since the design and construction of this room at UTEP, students, faculty, staff, and other community members have experienced a much richer experience for meetings, distance classes, interviews, and other similar events.