IS30460 Gender, race and diversity in the digital age

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module examines how gender, race and other forms of diversity have emerged as key debates in digital media. In the 1990s there was a broad consensus, at least in Europe, concerning race and gender: anti-racism and gender equality were an integral part of policies. While there were still many issues to be addressed, there was a general normative agreement that racism, gender discrimination, and other forms of discrimination were unacceptable. How is it that from this consensus we have now reached a situation that some describe as a ‘culture war’? What is the role of digital technologies and media in intensifying or abating tensions? How is it that from the techno-optimist discussions of the 2010s we are now routinely witnessing racist, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ and other toxic contents online? And what do we need to do to address this? This course seeks to pry open some of these issues through: (i) contextualising historically debates and approaches to gender, race, sexuality and other identities and movements around them; (ii) adopting a socio-technical lense, that understands digital technologies not as neutral platforms but as powerful actors in these debates; and (iii) anchoring these debates to specific policy decisions that have important ramifications.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate a meaningful understanding of:
1. The history, approaches and values of intellectual traditions on gender, race and sexual identities
2. The logics of production, circulation and management of digital contents
3. The role of digital technologies as socio-technical actors
6. The scope for policy and practical interventions, such as media and related literacies and new legislation, to prevent and redress media discrimination and to create liberatory tech spaces

Indicative Module Content:

Racially toxic speech and platform affordances
Tech misogyny, incels and toxic masculinity
Platform governance and content moderation
Making Digital Cultures of Gender and Sexuality: Safety, Security and Community
Data Cultures and Inequity for Gender and Sexual Minorities
'Cancel culture' and Digital Media
Ethical AI and racial regulatory justice
Image based sexual abuse, early safe space optimisms and legislative responses
Internet shutdowns and freedom of expression

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
A typical session will take the following form:
Introduction of a case study
Class discussion structured as a debate
Wrap up and concluding thoughts and reflections by the lecturer 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Two end term lightning essays (1500 words each) chosen from a list of select topics End of trimester MCQ n/a Graded Yes


Assignment: A midterm campaign poster or podcast (5 minutes) to raise awareness about key digital issues on select topics.
Week 6 n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Elizabeth Farries Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Páraic Kerrigan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 15:00 - 16:50