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Critique Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine

By Judith Halberstam, 1991

In our society, discourses are gendered, and the split between mind and body -as feminist theory has demonstrated -is a binary that identifies men with thought, intellect, and reason and women with body, emotion, and intuition. We might expect, then, that computer intelligence and robotics would enhance binary splits and emphasize the dominance of reason and logic over the irrational. However, because the blurred boundaries between mind and machine, body and machine, and human and nonhuman are the very legacy of cybernetics, automated machines, in fact, provide new ground upon which to argue that gender and its representations are technological productions. In a sense, cybernetics simultaneously maps out the terrain for both postmodern discussions of the subject in late capitalism and feminist debates about technology, postmodernism, and gender.

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