Call for Papers - Feminism & HCI: Interacting with Computers

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Feminism & HCI: A Special Issue of Interacting with Computers


Shaowen Bardzell (Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing)

Elizabeth F. Churchill (Yahoo! Research)

Portrayals of feminism, in politics, the media, and even in HCI conferences, suggest that this household word is not always well understood.  Academically, feminism is a subdomain of critical theory that examines “the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women.” (Tyson, 2006).  As a subdomain of critical theory, feminism integrates a collection of theories, analytical and interpretative methodologies, ethical values, and political positions, which have evolved over the past two centuries.

As HCI continues to expand beyond the preoccupations with how efficiently a system performs and is increasingly concerned with culture, society, and the experiential qualities of computing, the discipline stands to benefit from feminism.  Feminist theories and concepts have much to offer HCI due to a commitment to: studying arenas of interaction such as the home; reflective considerations of dominant and alternative epistemologies; understanding the constitution of gender and the self in everyday life; investigating the indirect effects of design; considering emotional landscapes including pleasure, desire, attraction, sentiment, anger, fear and resistance; studying the adoption and adaptation of technologies in leisure activities such as crafts; and addressing broader issues such as embodiment, memory, performance, and the effects of surveillance and gaze.

The “Feminism and HCI: New Perspectives” Special Issue seeks to provide a forum for scholarly contributions and applications of feminism to the discipline of HCI.  Though the topic of feminism has many inputs and applications, we confine our focus to the interaction design implications of this problem space.  Specifically, we are concerned with the design and evaluation of interactive systems that are imbued with sensitivity to the central commitments of feminism—agency, fulfillment, identity and the self, equity, empowerment, diversity, and social justice.  We also seek to improve our understanding of how gender identities and relations shape both the use of interactive technologies and their design.  Additionally, feminist HCI entails critical perspectives that could help reveal unspoken values within HCI’s dominant research and design paradigms, and underpin the development of new approaches, methods and design variations.

We see the contribution of feminist theories and methods to HCI in the following ways and encourage submissions that address the following types of issues:

Fundamental and theoretical: how feminism critiques core operational concepts, assumptions, and epistemologies of the field, and what opportunities this critique opens up for the future

Methodological considerations: how feminism interacts with user research, iterative design, evaluation methodologies

User considerations: updating the notion of “the user” to reflect gender in a way that noticeably and directly affects design

Artifact considerations: critically examining how designs configure users’ femininity and masculinity—and what implications they bear for future design work

Your experiences: To what extent do you perceive feminist perspectives already informing your work in HCI? Do you sense that feminist perspectives are informing others’ work in the field? What current issues in HCI might benefit from the application of feminist perspectives?

All submissions need to be based on original research and will be subject to the full review process of Interacting with Computers.

Instructions for Authors

Authors are encouraged to submit a short abstract (300-500 words) and a tentative title prior to the full paper submission, by February 28, 2010, to Shaowen Bardzell (selu (at) indiana (dot) edu) and Elizabeth Churchill (elizabeth (dot) churchill (at) yahoo-inc (dot) com). Please feel free to send an inquiry prior to writing the abstract.

The deadline for the final full-paper submission is June 1, 2010. Manuscripts should be 5000-7500 words, prepared according to the IwC’s guide for authors and should be submitted online. Illustrations must be provided in separate .jpg or.gif files, and APA Publication Manual (not ACM or IEEE) style is used.  Color is discouraged.  The guide for authors and online submission are available at

If you are a first-time user of the journal's online submission tool, you will have to register yourself as an author on the system at

Potential authors should contact Shaowen Bardzell (selu (at) indiana (dot) edu) and Elizabeth Churchill (elizabeth (dot) churchill (at) yahoo-inc (dot) com) with any questions about the special issue.

For information on Interacting with Computers, please see

Detailed timeline

Abstract submission (300-500 words) deadline: February 28, 2010

Full paper submission deadline: June 1, 2010

First-round reviews to authors: late August/early September, 2010

Revised papers due for final review and comments to authors: November 2010

Final papers due: Dec 15, 2010

Special issue publication: March, 2011

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