gender in cyberspace
How Does the Internet Affect Gender Constructions?

Step 1: Sign up to work with another student in the class for this project. Begin by reading “Pick a Gender and Get Back to Us: How Cyberspace Affects Who We Are,” by Gianna LaPin and Dr. Lakshmi Bharadwaj; this article will give you a sense of some of the issues raised by this topic, though you need not agree with the authors' conclusions.

Both of you should keep a log of all your activities related to this project and approximate times spent on each, including all internet sites visited (with titles and URLs. One easy way to keep track of this information is to open up Notepad before you begin; copy and paste the titles and URLs and jot down the time spent there; before you log off, save the file on a floppy. This list can easily be imported into any wordprocessing program when you write up the project. Here are a number of other relevant links:

Step 2: With your partner, decide which area of the internet you wish to emphasize (e.g., web sites dealing with a particular issue; MOOS or MUDS; chat rooms; e-mail discussion lists (listservs); Usenet news groups). Hand in or e-mail to me a one-sentence description of your chosen area by March 4.

Step 3: Conduct your investigation of your chosen area using whatever method is most appropriate, being sure to keep your log up to date and take notes or keep records of your activities. For example, you might explore, analyze, and compare web sites on an issue; subscribe to and participate in a listserv or news group (possibly under the guise of two different genders); visit and participate in chat rooms with different names—some gendered female, some male, some non-gendered, etc.

Step 4: On April 6, hand in a written record on your project that includes the following elements:

On April 6 and 8, each team will make an oral presentation of the results of their investigation to the rest of the class, including a description of what they did, what they learned from their activities, and what they have concluded about whether cyberspace does or does not have the potential to change or modify our attitudes toward gender. Click here to see a report on the results of this project.

February, 1999
Barbara F. McManus
WMS 048 Syllabus