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Friday, June 9 • 1:50pm - 2:10pm
Making STEM Feminist: Curricular Interventions in an Engineering School

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What does it mean to make STEM fields “feminist” and how should STEM practitioners accomplish this? This question has vexed feminist science studies scholars – several of whom, like Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, and Banu Subramaniam, were in fact trained as STEM practitioners – for over three decades. The proposed paper discusses the aims and process of establishing a Feminism and STEM minor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, a United States engineering school. The Feminism and STEM (FSTEM) curriculum is designed to teach students how to use the critical tools of feminism as a methodology for doing work in STEM fields. The goal is thus one of praxis: simultaneously educating students in the relevant histories and theories of feminism and facilitating their use of feminist methodologies as tools for working in STEM professionals. For example, discussion about the history of women’s roles in mathematics is paired with interviewing real women working in STEM-focused institutions and students apply difficulty theory about feminist objectivity to designing procedures for laboratory pratices. The reflections of feminist science studies scholars like Donna Haraway and Banu Subramaniam on how training as STEM practitioners prompted them to develop feminist consciousness indicate how necessary it is for engineering students to engage with feminist theories to avoid reproducing intersecting regimes of oppression in the future.
This paper situates this specific curriculum development project in the context of the norms and constraints of engineering education. For example, how does the FSTEM minor incorporate and respond to engineering education scholarship that is increasingly focused on practical, project-based learning? How does the curriculum achieve the goals set forth by engineering accreditation standards, which often play a large role in decision making about curriculum development at engineering schools? A praxis-focused FSTEM curriculum provides a unique opportunity to intervene in the engineering curriculum to introduce students to the theories and methods of social justice in a way that is relevant to their future careers and furthers the established educational aims of engineering education. It is a small but important gesture toward making STEM feminist.


Danya Glabau

Industry Assistant Professor, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Friday June 9, 2023 1:50pm - 2:10pm EDT
ARC E-02