Digital Labor

​Jasmine Rault

person  

Jasmine Rault is an Assistant Professor in Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College at The New School in New York City. Rault works on themes of trans- feminist and queer affective and cultural economies and has new work in ephemera, “The Labour of Being Studied in a Free Love Economy” (with T.L. Cowan, 2014); Women’s Studies Quarterly on racialized queer debt and the politics of history-making (with Cowan, 2014); and Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology on designing trans- feminist and queer online archives (with Cowan and Dayna McLeod, 2014). Rault’s first book is Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In (2011).


Research and Practice on Feminist / Feminized Digital Labor
Bringing together scholars from locations across The New School, this session will address feminist and feminized digital labor from the perspective of both research and practice. The notion of “digital labor” we explore is deliberately broad, and includes refusing the digital as well as accommodating it. Participants will discuss a range of topics including: ethics and reciprocity in ethnographies of digital work; the race and gender politics of online courses; feminist pedagogical publics; value and labor in the digital archive; documentation as digital labor; migrants resisting digital technology; the affective labor of legitimizing subcultural work; the sacrificial labor of being studied; digital labor as reproductive labor; digital technology as state surveillance; digital labor in urban space; the digital turn in public school applications; digital labor within the fashion industry from technical designers to fashion photographers; and more. Throughout, we use “feminist” and “feminized” to signal diverse communities of feminist, transgender, queer, subcultural, ethnicized, racialized, under-resourced, minoritized, disenfranchised, unauthorized and otherwise subordinated subjects. Our questions engage directly with a range of cognate subaltern theories, methodologies, practices, and pedagogies.

Our proposed format is one of experimental dialogue, drawn loosely from the Long Table format created by performance artist Lois Weaver. Blending collaboration, presentation, workshop, and performance, and conceived of as a reappropriation of the dinner table, the arrangement creates a forum around the “etiquette” of openness, dialogue, and permeability. Our Long Table plays off the notion of feminized, un- or under-waged reproductive labor invoked by a meal. It addresses the collaborative—if uneven, shifting, or exploitative—labor involved in producing inquiry and knowledge. Because seats “at the table” can rotate, it is ideal for structuring a large group such as ours, as well as for switching roles of presenter/performer and audience. Participants will frame questions, offer comments, and possibly entertain silence.