CfP: Special issue on Women and Tech in the Post-Soviet Context

Call for Papers: Special issue on ‘Women and Tech in the Post-Soviet Context: Intelligence, Creativity, Transgression’, Studies in Russian, Eurasian, and Central-European New Media (

The development of the internet as a democratizing tool fostering freedom of information, grass-roots activism, and peer-to-peer support is closely related to and engrained in hacker communities. In the early days of the internet’s development, these groups consisted primarily of young white men from with access to higher education and technology. In popular culture, the image of the successful programmer, software developer and ‘hacktivist’ remains predominantly male and is based on such well-known examples as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Edward Snowden, and Pavel Durov. Meanwhile, there are few if any stories or representations of women who have led the hacker revolution. As access to computer-programming-based technology becomes democratized on the user-end, gender (and other) inequalities on the developer side continue to persist with women drastically underrepresented in tech professions. 

These representations contradict what we know from history, including the fact that there are several women who have led crucial advancements in math and computing. Ada Lovelace, Victorian mathematician and daughter of Lord Byron, was notably the inventor of algorithms. She introduced the ‘calculating machine’ one hundred years before the existence of modern computers. Another pioneering female computer scientist and feminist figure, Joan Clarke, worked as a cryptanalyst in the British Government’s Code and Cypher School with the task of decrypting the German Enigma machine code during World War II. Clarke’s work was brought to the attention of international film audiences by The Imitation Game in 2014 and biographies of Lovelace are being published in different languages. Despite some renewed interest, we still know far too little about women’s work in computing, internet activism, and technology industries in general. 

Studies in Russian, Eurasian, and Central-European New Media ( invites submissions that address women, feminism, and the internet in post-socialist contexts to be published in a special issue ‘Women and Tech in the post-Soviet Context: Intelligence, Creativity, Transgression’. The issue aims to consider what is it like to be a female programmer, online activist, or digital artist in the era of global connectedness through the internet. According to a study conducted by HackerRank (, of the ten nations with the best women coders three are Eastern European/post-socialist countries, which prompts the question whether female programmers are better off in post-socialist countries than they are in Silicon Valley? Against this background, the issue also seeks to examine feminist activism and women’s creative work online. Did Pussy Riot pave the way for transnational feminism to grow through online communications? What is the role of internet-based ‘cyber feminism’ (feminist theorizing, critiquing and exploiting the internet and new media technologies) for the grass-roots work of women’s groups across the post-socialist space and beyond? How do women artists, writers, and poets advance their careers through online networks and computer programming?

The proposed articles can include (but are not limited to) themes such as:

  • Female coders 
  • Women in software developer communities 
  • Gender representation of hacktivism 
  • Women and artificial intelligence 
  • Feminist groups online 
  • Feminist internet sites 
  • Female gamers/women in the gaming industry 
  • Women’s online poetry and literature 
  • Women in digital art 
  • Female idols on Runet 
  • Female pioneers of Runet 
  • Women in the history of computing and internet in the post-socialist context 

Please send an abstract of 350 words and a short cv to the issue’s editors Saara Ratilainen (, Mariëlle Wijermars ( and Justin Wilmes ( by 15 October 2017. Notification on acceptance will be sent by November 20. The deadline for full articles is 31 January 2018.  

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