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Computers Can’t Get Wet: Queer Slippage and Play in the Rhetoric of Computational Structure

Nelson, Sandra L. (2020) Computers Can’t Get Wet: Queer Slippage and Play in the Rhetoric of Computational Structure. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation takes up the argument that computers are rhetorical structures that can be queered. Using cross-disciplinary methods, it examines the interplay that occurs between the layers of the computational stack – focusing in particular on the slippage between materiality, code, interface, and the resulting software – and analyzes the narratives that each layer perpetuates individually and in tandem. It applies a multi-faceted approach to queer theory in order to reveal the ways in which anti-normative computer users critique, resist, and subvert these narratives. When computers are approached as always already queer, the possibilities for disruption that exist within their limits materialize and present themselves as opportunities for intersectional exploitation. Praxis is at the heart of this project. In it, the author strives to interact with, build, and embody the technology that also serves as the object of study.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nelson, Sandra L.sln36@pitt.edusln36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVee, Annetteannettevee@pitt.eduannettevee0000-0003-2975-4466
Committee MemberCampbell, Peter Odellodell@pitt.eduODELL0000-0002-3125-165X
Committee MemberMiller,
Committee MemberLangmead, Alisonadlangmead@pitt.eduadlangmead0000-0002-9159-9797
Date: 8 June 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 31 March 2020
Approval Date: 8 June 2020
Submission Date: 5 April 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 204
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: biohacking, sex work, video games, digital humanities, gender studies
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2020 16:48
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2020 16:48


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