DATACTIVE lecture series: Elizabeth Losh


We are happy to announce that Elizabeth Losh will present on gender and technology in the discourse surrounding Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as part of DATACTIVE Speaker’s Series and in collaboration with the DMI’s data sprint. Please find the outline and bio below.

Date: 8 March, 15.30 – 17.00 in OMHP C0.17


I Did Not Have Text with that Server: 
Gender, Technology, and Digital Literacy in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign

This presentation argues that the rhetoric surrounding failed U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 email scandals can be understood as a consequence of a particular confluence of gender and technology in which excessive digital privacy is represented as a feminized user choice and calls for digital transparency are presented in terms of masculinist norms. Using techniques from discourse analysis and the theoretical framework of feminist technology studies, Losh analyzes materials in the @realDonaldTrump Twitter archive, the Fox News website, the WikiLeaks database that indexes hacked emails from Hillary Clinton and John Pedestal, and FBI documents from the agency’s website. Additionally, it references visual culture depicting Clinton as a user of personal mobile devices in public places, where she is shown as a secretive technology user claiming privacy in the public sphere, and popular Internet memes that associated her email conduct with sexual impropriety and dishonesty about a lack of digital purity. This talk explores how a political official’s relationships to non-human servers, peripherals, and portable devices could be perceived of as potentially threatening to the sexual order and by extension threatening to political sovereignty.

Elizabeth Losh is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at William and Mary with a specialization in New Media Ecologies. Before coming to William and Mary, she directed the Culture, Art, and Technology Program at the University of California, San Diego. She is a core member and former co-facilitator of the feminist technology collective FemTechNet, which offers a Distributed Open Collaborative Course and part of the international organizing team of The Selfie Course.

She is the is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes (MIT Press, 2009) and The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University (MIT Press, 2014). She is the co-author of the comic book textbook Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013) with Jonathan Alexander.