2018+ : Unseen Hands, a monograph project

> gendered design
> reverse engineering
> history of typewriters, computers, AI
> feminist technoscience
> science and technology studies

This project addresses a gap in the study of women’s labour in science and technology: the ways in which technologies associated with gendered labour are already, in fact, gendered by design—and have been so since the Industrial era.

By analyzing the gendered design of the Industrial­-era typewriter (1870s to 1910s), this project will offer a better understanding of the gendering of technology that has persisted with personal computers (1970s to 1990s) and AI virtual assistants such as Apple’s “Siri,” Amazon’s “Alexa,” and Microsoft’s “Cortana” (2010 onward). In doing so, this project joins important conversations about the stories of historically marginalized and unseen women—including those in scholarly fields such as science and technology studies, gender studies, media studies, and STEM, as well as in public forums such as books, films, art, and social media.

As of August 2020, this project has secured research funding of $350,000 HKD (declined) and $45,231 CAD (Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada) as I develop it into my next monograph.


Conference presentation: Fan, Lai-Tze. “Is it Human or Machine?: Symbiotic Authorship and the Gendered Design of AI.” Panel: “Generated Narrative.” 2020 International Conference on Narrative. New Orleans, USA. 5 March 2020.

Keynote: Fan, Lai-Tze. “An Electronic Room of One’s Own: Women and the History of Digital Storytelling.” Launch of the Collaborative Digital Research Space. University of Toronto, Mississauga, Canada. 2 March 2020.


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