Woman-in-the-Loop: Gender, Labor, and the Human-Machine Reconfiguration in China


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




Many studies highlight the disruptive nature of digital technology. “Women-in-the-Loop” adopts a more comprehensive “micro-macro” approach to examine feminized digital workers in the platform economy, positioning it within the expansive context of women’s labor history. It scrutinizes both the continuities with and departures from traditional patterns of capital accumulation and state control. Focusing on China—a country at the technological forefront yet marked by deep-seated power imbalances—this study investigates how digitalization fundamentally alters the dynamics between humans and machines, changing the modes of tracking, measuring, and valuing labor. It further explores how this reconfiguration of human-machine relations influences workers’ subjectivities and resistance within the workplace and beyond. Melding ethnography with archival research, this project not only reveals how digital technologies perpetuate older power structures but also envisions a more emancipatory role for technology.