Image source: Photo CC-BY glasseyes view, filtered.

This reading list provides an overview of recent books, articles and sources across the internet for those interested in learning more about how race, gender, and sexuality relate to surveillance. Far from comprehensive, it offers a starting point to explore how an intersectional lens and feminist attention to state, corporate, and peer surveillance practices and their differential effects on marginalised groups is timely and important.

Sources from across the web (blogs, video, art)

APC (2016). Feminist Principles of the Internet 2.0.

The feminist internet principles emphasise the importance of consent, privacy, and anonymity, and offer useful guidance on what it means to take a feminist stance on topics related to technology, data, the internet, and surveillance.

Kayyali, D. (2015). The architecture of a street level panopticon How drones, IMSI Catchers, and cameras are shaping our cities. Presentation at Chaos Communication Congress.

Dia Kayyali talks about urban street level mass surveillance (for example security cameras, iris scanners or license plate recognition), its consequences for the freedom of expression and its classed and racialised effects.

Magid, J. (2004). Evidence Locker. Art installation.

Jill Magid’s installation Evidence Locker turns CCTV footage into an art installation that critically engages with the fragmented and partial nature of visual surveillance. It was exhibited in Liverpool, where it was created, but remains available as an online installation. Read an analysis of Evidence Locker and its significance to the study of surveillance here.

Model View Culture (2014, October). Surveillance.

A collection of several compelling blog posts about surveillance and its relationship with race, sex and gender, drawing for example on sex work, black women, education, business, or social media. Beyond this special collection, Model View Culture is generally worth following for those interested in technology, race, gender, and sexuality.

Poitras, L. (2014). Citizen Four. Documentary.

Laura Poitras’ captivating documentary on whistleblower Edward Snowden won an Oscar for best documentary, amongst many other awards. While not about gender, race, or sexuality, her film is definitely worth watching to get a sense of this defining moment for (our knowledge of) contemporary mass surveillance.

Safe Hub Collective. A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity.

This brilliant online guide introduces a wide range of available security tools to helps feminist activists take back control of their digital spaces, improve their operational security when working with sensitive data and vulnerable groups, and to minimise the risk of surveillance.

Articles and reports

Lyon, D. (2014). Surveillance, Snowden, and Big Data: Capacities, consequences, critique. Big Data & Society, 1(2), 1–13.

David Lyon has written extensively about surveillance. In this article he takes Edward Snowdens revelations about the scale of contemporary mass surveillance as a catalyst to explore the connections between big data and surveillance, and gives an overview of the issues at stake in the study of surveillance.

Magnet, S., & Rodgers, T. (2012). Stripping for the State: Whole body imaging technologies and the surveillance of othered bodies. Feminist Media Studies, 12(1), 101–118.

The authors look at the ways in which whole body imaging technology used in airports disproportionately affects racialised and religious communities, disabled travelers, and trans* people. See also Magnet’s 2011 book When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity for an in-depth exploration of this and related topic(s).

Malhotra, N. (2014). Good Questions on Technology-Related violence.

This paper explores ways in which women and queers are at risk of tech-mediated violence, including the distribution of intimate visuals without consent, online harassment and stalking, dissemination of private data, identity theft or hate speech. Read more about the findings of the underlying research here.

Mason, C. & Magnet, S. (2012). Surveillance Studies and Violence Against Women. Surveillance & Society, 10(2): 105-118.

This piece explores the implications of surveillance technologies for violence against women. The authors note that those technologies are not objective or neutral but reflect the culture that produces them and thus reproduce persistent inequalities and violence against women.

Tactical Tech (Eds.) (2016). Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and the Internet (Vol. 22). Arrow for Change, 22(1).

This special issue guest-edited by the Tactical Tech collective presents new research on the relationship between sexuality, sexual and reproductive rights and the internet that is highly relevant to inform our thinking about gender and surveillance.

UN Human Rights Council (2016). Resolution A/HRC/32/L.20 on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet.

Not an article or report exactly, but this UN Resolution was widely reported as the one that made the internet a basic human right. It also stresses the importance of digital literacy and access to information and communication technology for the empowerment of women and girls, while calling on states to refrain from preventing or disrupting access to or dissemination of information online, and reaffirming the right to privacy online.


Browne, S. (2015). Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. Duke University Press.

Simone Browne shows how contemporary surveillance is informed by racist histories and methods of policing of black life under slavery.

Dubrofsky, R. E., & Magnet, S. A. (2015). Feminist surveillance studies. Duke University Press.

The chapters in this edited collection take a feminist perspective and show that gender, race, class, and sexuality are central to the study of surveillance.

van der Meulen, E. & Heynen, R. (2016). Expanding the Gaze: Gender and the Politics of Surveillance. University of Toronto Press.

A collection of new empirical and theoretical work that explores topics including the surveillance of trans* bodies, social media and night life to show that contemporary surveillance is more than the NSA, and that attention to gender is necessary to understand its implications.

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