My dissertation examines the ways in which technology is associated with progress, often understood in terms of a future with limitless opportunities for communication, commerce, and innovation. This version of progress insists on a disavowal of technology’s Cold War origins and its dependence on a militarized political economy. I center the gendered and racialized formation of the “small, foreign, and female”—a phrase that researcher Karen Hossfeld heard in an interview with a hiring manager in a Silicon Valley microchip manufacturing firm, explaining his ideal assembly line worker—to think about how this form of embodiment allows us to engage with an alternate phenomenology of militarized migration and labor in Asian American cultural production that resists through speculation. While scholarship exists that engages techno-orientalism, the history of technology, and the conditions of women in technology’s global factory, little scholarship has been produced that reads Asian American cultural production against artifacts that drive a technological narrative of temporal progress. My feminist intervention in techno-orientalism troubles the ways in which technology has speculated on Asian women’s bodies in different spaces, revealing racialization as a technology itself that has relied on a series of disavowals around progress and futurity. I employ the speculative mode in its capacity to materialize the “unreal” in moving the reader away from accepted knowledges and understandings of time. Through speculation, my dissertation examines how futurity gets narrated in terms of technology’s political economy by questioning what futures get made into material realities and which don’t. The speculative desires and visions of women of color as phenomenologically experienced think not only through the question of “what if” but also “what new formations might be.”
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Speculating on the Terms of “Small, Foreign, and Female”: Reimagining the Temporality of Technology Through Asian American Cultural Production
Yim Schlotfeldt, Rachel. Speculating on the Terms of “Small, Foreign, and Female”: Reimagining the Temporality of Technology Through Asian American Cultural Production. 2022. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.