What is Feminist Media Archaeology?

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In a fairly recent blog post, Jussi Parikka discusses how media archaeology can be criticized for being a “boy’s club”. In the introduction of this text, he writes: One of the set critiques of media archaeology is that it is a boys' club. That is a correct evaluation in so many ways when one has a look at the topics as well as authors of the circle of writers broadly understood part of 'media archaeology'. I make the same argument for instance in What is Media Archaeology?, but there is also something else that we need to attend to.

There is however a danger that the critique also neglects the multiplicity inherent in the approach. For sure, there are critical points to be made in so many aspects of Kittler's and others' theoretical work, but at the same time it feels unfair to neglect the various female authors and artists at the core of the field. In other words, the critique often turns a blind eye to the women who are actively involved in media archaeology. Let's not write them out too easily. Parikka then goes on to briefly introduce several female researchers and artists who are active in the media archaeological field. These are women who are, in different ways, doing media archaeology. This is of course an important issue – skewed representations or lopsided citation practices are never good – and the contributions of these researchers are significant and important. However, we could also argue that there is an important difference between the body of work being done by women and, what we may call, feminist media archaeology. There can, of course, be overlaps between these two ways of representing feminist interests in media archaeology, but for feminist theorizing and practising to truly have an impact, we have to ask ourselves what is feminist media archaeology? By looking for empirical gaps and putting questions of, for example, design, power, infrastructure and benefit, to the fore we can shine a different light on the material-discursive genealogy of digital culture, still very much in the vein of media archaeological endeavors. What we suggest is quite simple – a transdisciplinary approach which emphasizes “the unity of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives [which] points toward our potential to think in terms of frameworks, concepts, techniques, and vocabulary that we have not yet imagined”. As such, we want to take an exploratory tactic to the question posed in the title of this paper. We do not intend to provide a single nor definite answer – rather we want to think with media archaeology and feminism together, seeking to raise other questions in order to find dynamic parallels and crosscurrents.