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December 03, 2007

Locating Cyberfeminism in Eastern Europe

Here is a portion of my recent discussions with few of the artists and scholars on the histories of gender and technology, as well as women and art in the former socialist countries. To give an example of a study done some time back on Russian cyberfeminism by Andrea Hapke and Andrea Jana Korb at Humbold University, one can follow this link:


"We need to avoid speaking too generally I believe, making rather sweeping conclusions based on a few personal observations / comments and the fact that few of us travel now. There is nothing
wrong with such generalizations in a conversation and as establishing a common ground among ourselves privately, but there is a problem if we present it without more careful research and very specific references (period, law, country, class, place, what evidence we have,
art works, how to interpret them and why, etc.).

Speaking very specifically about our own work, histories and contexts (like in Berlin we made statements based on our own work in cyberfeminist direction and what evidence / facts / histories we have been using so far) would also avoid to always positioning oneself as opposite (not only different) to some generalized other.

I am also curious about this 'reflexive' moment of treating ourselve as 'different' - this usually happens when we travel, since most of the time, we ourselves are 'majority' in our own contexts (ethnically or in terms of location - being in the capital city, or in terms of class / opportunities).

Just to start a conversation, I can refer to an excellent research by Ann Hibner Koblitz published as "Science, Women and the Russian Intelligentzia: The Generation of the 1860s" (IBIS, Vol. 79, Nov. 2, June 1988, pp. 208-226). It is about the connection between politics, women and science in 19th century Russia.

To a large extent, this text for me that says a lot about sources and strategies of women's achievements in pre- and post-revolutionary Russia in avant-garde art, in science (like Sophia Kovalevskaya), as well as in Soviet art and technology.