Handout: King, for "The State of Feminism and Women's Studies Today," 3 May 2017-- talk website: http

invited presentation for The Department of Women and Gender Studies' Diversity Research Café. University of Delaware
Feminisms, Women's Studies Multiplicities, "States"
Katie King, Women's Studies, University of Maryland, College Park / Email: katking@umd.edu
Home Page: http://katiekin.weebly.com/ ; follow on twitter @katkingumd

When a set of feminist educators wanted to come up with an alternative to privatizing MOOC
platforms they companioned with the web, partner and workshop, making FemTechNet, a
Distributed Open Collaborative Course or DOCC. They inhabited their DOCC with what Alex
Juhasz and Anne Balsamo, media designers and technologists, called caringly “boundary objects
that learn.” All of these feminist specialists in emergent learning processes wanted to enable
companionships in which such an object “participates in the creation of meanings: of identity, or
usefulness, of function, of possibilities.” Juhasz and Balsamo reminded us that Susan Leigh Star
(and her various collaborators) came up with the concept of a boundary object “to assert that
objects (material, digital, discursive, conceptual) participate in the co-production of reality. At
base, the notion asserts that objects perform important communication ‘work’ among people:
they are defined enough to enable people to form common understandings, but weakly
determined so that participants can modify them to express emergent thinking.” (Juhasz &
Balsamo 2012) Boundary objects that learn are always up for redesign, up for speculative

• “I use the word nepantla to theorize liminality and to talk about those who facilitate passages between worlds, whom I’ve named
nepantleras.” (Anzalduá 2002:1)
• “These are what I refer to as ‘wizards’: that is, they are both repositories of local knowledge about the social and technical situations,
and simultaneously, they know enough of more than one layer to perform rare cross-layering coordination. By definition, this work is
‘interdisciplinary’….” (Star 1995:107)
• “I guess I’d locate my hope in being part of enough different worlds simultaneously. . . . I’ve tried to model a way of being in this
kind of an organization that makes sense to me. It makes sense to me in the ways that it’s been formed by all these other worlds that
I’m part of.” (Suchman & Scharmer 1999)
• "Differential consciousness requires grace, flexibility, and strength: enough strength to confidently commit to a well-defined
structure of identity for one hour, day, week, month, year; enough flexibility to self-consciously transform that identity according to
the requisites of another oppositional ideological tactic if readings of power's formation require it; enough grace to recognize alliance
with others committed to egalitarian social relations and race, gender, sex, class, and social justice, when these other readings of
power call for alternative oppositional stands." (Sandoval 2000:60)
• “People often cannot see what they take for granted until they encounter someone who does not take it for granted.” (Bowker and
Star 1999:305)

BOUNDARY OBJECTS (Bowker & Star 1999: 297-8)
"Boundary objects are those objects that both inhabit several communities of practice and satisfy the informational requirements of
each of them. Boundary objects are thus both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing
them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use and become strongly
structured in individual site use. These objects may be abstract or concrete.... Such objects have different meanings in different social
worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable, a means of translation. The creation
and management of boundary objects is a key process in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting communities.”

The “rigor” of trancontextual feminist methods comes into play when we welcome peripheral participations (robust across fields) as
well as work for an enlivened sensitivity to privileges of possible resources and infrastructures, local exigencies, and differential
belonging. Transcontextual feminisms as I have come to understand them, work to remain curious, even about and in the midst the
public feelings-realities of marginality and membership among Ecologies of Knowledge. (In memory of Susan Leigh Star and her
work such as Star 1995)

• Being inside and moved around literally by the very material and conceptual structures you are analyzing and writing about is a kind
of self-consciousness only partially available for explicit, or direct discussion
• Under global academic restructuring we are obliged to network among all these lively agencies, as we look to see things as they exist
for others, in different degrees of resolution, of grain of detail. (See King 2011)

INTERSECTIONALITY (Collins & Bilge 2016: 204)
"The central challenge of intersectionality is to move into the politics of the not-yet. Thus far, intersectionality has managed to sustain
intellectual and political dynamism that grows from its heterogeneity. This is immensely difficult to achieve when faced with the kinds
of intellectual and political challenges we have explored in this book. But just because something is difficult does not mean that it's
not worth doing." [my emphasis]
• Funding the book as a way into collective action: IndieGoGo Campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/octavia-s-brood-
• Gathering Folks who make things happen: Black Girl Nerds turn up on Google Search
• Tumblr Website: Octavia's Brood: http://octaviasbrood.com


Why put Race at the center? Is it a center? What Networks & Tangles & Fields & Powers are shown here?
Additive? Interactive? Intra-actions? Transversal? Trans-sectoral? (See also Yuval-Davis 2016, 2012; Carter 2015;
Lykke 2012; Squires 2010; Davis 2008) image from: Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality in ESL Education:

MICROAGGRESSIONS: http://www.microaggressions.com
'A compilation of community submissions, in solidarity with #Baltimore, #Ferguson, and #BlackLivesMatter. The micro only matters
because of the macro.' - The Microaggressions Project. Facebook page, April 29, 2015:

BOUNDARY OBJECTS THAT LEARN: microaggression in transdisciplinary political lives:
Something, some thing massively distributed yet also micro somehow in relation to persons, indeed crowd-sensible among personal
storifyings, is emergent among and as microaggression and microaggressions. Literally we see, in data visualization, this perhaps
hyperobject at the online Microaggressions Project. 'The micro only matters because of the macro' explains the Project's facebook

TRIGGERS (Lothian 2016: 13-14)
“As a participant in fandom for longer than I have been teaching, fannish world-making practices have always been at the back of my
mind in creating syllabi.... My personal warnings policies have evolved over time, moving from a summary acknowledgment of the
necessity of discomfort to a careful distinction between “discomfort” and “triggering,” which goes along with a content note policy
modeled on a combination of WisCon and Kink Bingo.... Students also have a range of fiercely held opinions on warnings practice
after all, and even their indifference can be educational. Fannish successes in creating policy models that include space for not
warning are worth remembering in this context: many teachers already include statements that effectively define their classrooms as
'choose not to warn”'spaces.”

1) the Trans-Knowledges: for starters:
• transgender, transing, trans*
• transnational, transversal, transcontexual
• transgenic, translation, tranimal
• transdisciplinary, trans-sectoral, transmedia

2) Political Being, ontologies and makings of action: prefigurative politics <=> diegetic prototyping
• prefigurative politics: movement practices that enact political goals in real time.
• diegetic prototyping: objects made for film sets that become functional technologies.

Some references [more on talksite]: With appreciation and wonder always from inspirations from speculative feminisms….
• Anzaldúa, G. 2002. “(Un)natural bridges.” In eds. Anzaldúa, G. & Keating, A. this bridge we call home, pp. 1-5. Routledge.
• Bowker, G.C., & Star, S.L. 1999. Sorting things out: classification and its consequences. MIT.
• Collins, P.H., & Bilge, S. 2016. Intersectionality. Polity.
• Grebowicz, M. & Merrick, H. 2013. Beyond the Cyborg. Columbia.
• Haraway, D. 2011. Sf: Speculative Fabulation and String Figures. (Book 99). Hatje Cantz.
• Imarisha, W. & Brown, A.M. (Eds). 2015. Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. AK Press.
• Juhasz, A. and Balsamo, A. 2012. An Idea Whose Time is Here: FemTechNet — A Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC). Ada, a journal of Gender,
New Media & Technology, No.1. http://adanewmedia.org/2012/11/issue1-juhasz/
• King, K. 2011. Networked Reenactments: stories transdisciplinary knowledges tell. Duke.
• Lothian, A. 2016. Choose not to warn. Feminist Studies 42/3: 1-14.
• Pierce, C. 1970. 'Offensive Mechanisms.' In The Black Seventies. Barbour, F.B. (Ed.) Porter Sargent, pp. 265–82.
• Sandoval, C. 2000. Methodology of the oppressed. Minnesota.
• Suchman, L. & Scharmer, C.O. 1999. “I have, more than ever, a sense of the immovability of these institutions.”
• Star, S.L. 2010. “This is Not a Boundary Object.” Science, Technology & Human Values, 35/5: 601-617.
• Star, S.L. & Ruhleder, K. 1996. ”Steps toward an ecology of infrastructure.” Information Systems Research 7(1), 127.
• Star, S.L., ed. 1995. Ecologies of Knowledge: Work and politics in science and technology. SUNY.
• Sue, D., Capodilupo, C.M., Torino, G.C., Bucceri, J.M., Holder, A.M.B., Nadal, K.L,. & Esquilin, M.. 2007. Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life:
Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist 62/4: 271-286.