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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.


Irina, thank you for these references: I am about halfway through the audio file of the Cyberfeminism panel at Re:Place Berlin. Thanks to whomever recorded it!

Here is an article by an US-based scholar, Jeffrey Goldfarb from the New School, which I have just read that is helping me think critically about my own misunderstandings of how western feminism might feel from another vantage point (in this case, 1997 Central & Eastern Europe). Surely it will help inform my mis/understandings of cyberfeminisms as well.


Dear Hyla,

I have started thinking more about my talk at our panel, and in terms of location I am thinking about comparative analysis of American and Russian cyberfeminist examples, locating specific conceptual concerns. Or, the concerns might be similar, but approached and understood differently. I gave a talk last year on the history of Russian women and technology. Together with Boryana's ideas from Berlin and my earlier discussions with Andrea and Jana from Germany, it will be the basis for my paper. Andrea and Jana wrote master's thesis in Berlin on Russian cyberfeminism, in a way, re-inventing it, I would think. Very interesting work. I know that 'locating' is always met with resistance especially in new media circles, while we are trying to become global and international. Differences are interesting and productive for me, not restrictive or essentializing. Thankfully, new media studies and art are also moving towards appreciating differences more and more, actually doing interesting research on that. Last MediaArtHistories conference in Berlin was a good start.

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