NITLE Seminar: Women's Studies and DH


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  • Plural: Jaime Skye Bianco’s “This Digital Humanities which is Not One” Strategic and Tactical: Mark Sample, by way of de Certeau, “fleeting, fugitive” tactical collaborations (also documented in the history of feminist zines by Jacqueline Rhodes) Expanding on Alan Liu’s definition, which, like Jaime’s includes creativity,
  • For Liu the need to bring cultural studies into DH is partially about a need to defend the Humanities, to articulate the value of liberal education.
  • Women Writers Project: - access to the primary materials, but also to the development process and standards – shared DH knowledge Old Bailey Online:
  • Orlando Project : large scale, academic institution and press, collaborative, multiyear, funded project Grandma Got STEM: individual/crowdsourced intervention – no funding, started by faculty member at Harvey Mudd College Lesbian Herstory Archives -- physical archive held in trust, explicitly outside of academy, non-profit, relatively limited digital presence
  • Not simply about access to sources for faculty research, but also about access for teaching and for discovery by students. “Special Approaches to Women’s Education” History of Education – local history at these colleges, but it is also a way into the larger national histories of women’s education in the US. As work has expanded, it’s also been about how liberal arts education can engage with local communities, a more public mode of scholarship at all levels Scripps College “Creating Archives” course: -- allow students to work to bring archival collections forward, but also to make their work public in important ways. Families and communities engage.
  • Liu positions ”knowledge work” as the most valuable (cool) work and this part of his argument about the role that DH may play within cultural studies – by positioning that work within the realm of the cool. Drucker takes a different approach, arguing that our entire cultural legacy is already subject to mediation by new media. Consequently, it isn’t a matter of making our work “cool” – we have to engage digital technologies because they’ve already fully engaged us. I’m particularly interested in the fact that both Liu and Drucker see digital media enabling more creative modes of criticism. I’m also particularly invested in the decentralization articulated in Drucker’s sense that we no longer have to separate archive from classroom and classroom from community. I see in that a very productive kind of feminist engagement – one that enables us to imagine and create different kinds of communities of practice.
  • Stakes can be articulated in a number of ways, my own inclination is toward a recognition of feminist effects – a rebuttal of what feels to me like repeated erasures of women’s work or work on behalf of women’s work. Whether through Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network theory, or other STS inflected approaches, there has been a push to recognize the interplay between technologies, social contexts, and the objects of work. One of the difficulties that I found in writing that essay is that it’s extremely difficult to parse such scenes, and most of the time users aren’t yet integrated into the inquiry. But there is also an issue of genealogy here: Tara McPherson’s excellent “Why are the Digital Humanities So White” has a wonderful reading of the obscured racialized history of UNIX and I am eager to see more such work. At the same time, I think we’re better at articulating the problematic histories of technology than we are at remembering the laudatory ones. Take for example – the oft-cited collaborative ethos of DH. Its certainly bears all of the criticism it has received, but I think we might do well to celebrate the influence of major feminist projects, like WWP and Orlando, in placing collaboration and altered hierarchies at the center of leading DH work. To do otherwise is to miss the opportunity to both transform DH work such that it does a better job of dealing with race, gender, class, and sexuality. At the same time, we risk also losing the history of the impacts of feminist and queer interventions – of losing sight of the power of past actions and of letting the mainstream academy appropriate our achievements under a more palatable or generalist label.
  • THATCamp Feminisms (East, South, West) #transformdh collective and the MLA commons group “Feminisms and DH” Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education @ Bryn Mawr Chawton House – Women’s Writing in the Long 18 th Century conference
  • Archives as monuments and the repository of record Metrics of “impact” Chiffon: the ephemeral intervention – the show, the exhibit, the zine Amy Earhart’s critiques of funding structures and call to preserve what has already been created. “Recovering the Recovered Text: Diversity, Canon Building, and Digital Studies”
  • NITLE Seminar: Women's Studies and DH

    1. 1. NITLE Shared Academics: Women’sStudies, Gender Studies, and Digital Humanities Jacqueline Wernimont Assistant Professor of English Scripps College @profwernimont |
    2. 2. The problem with definitions: Digital HumanitiesPluralStrategic (long term) and Tactical (short term)Creative and CriticalSelf-conscious about modalities and toolsCommunity of practice-Digital Humanists make creative and critical use of digital technology in humanities scholarship and teaching
    3. 3. Outline of Sorts : What is at stake?Communicating Value (strategic scaling)AccessAccess, Authority, and TeachingMissing HistoriesCommunities of PracticeFeminist Critiques of DH“Chiffon” Interventions
    4. 4. Communicating ValueLiu suggests that part of what theory can offer DH is the ability to scale from academic inquiry into cultural action/critiqueGWS-DH allows scholars and students to (re)assert the transformative power of academic feminism outside of the academyOpportunities to highlight the value of liberal arts education as well
    5. 5. In Liu’s terms, we have an opportunity to extend issues around text encoding, pedagogy, social media, data visualization, and so on into the “register of society, economics, politics, (and) culture.” It is a chance to make clear that feminist reading, writing, teaching, building, and breaking are also modes of feminist cultural engagement.Q: What kinds of scaling are already being done? What others approaches should we be imagining?
    6. 6. AccessWomen Writers Project Old Bailey Online /
    7. 7. www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org
    8. 8. Access, Authority, and Teaching
    9. 9. Extension of a Different Kind“We no longer have to separate the archive from the classroom, the specialist from the student, or sentence the researcher to monastic isolation. Intersubjectivity, communication, and exchange are crucial to forging vital humanities communities. Communication makes aesthetic artifacts matter—to someone for some reason…Given that the “Googlization of knowledge is already a reality,” Drucker argues that “digital tools for humanities scholarship are crucial. Humanities approaches to digital tools are even more crucial. […] We have to engage with new media as a way to extend humanities ideas…The “humanities” are a living field of possibilities for engagement, and they provide a crucial methodology for doing so. Digital instruments are suited to the creation of new working methods along administrative, intellectual, and cultural lines.Criticism, Vol 47 No 2, Spring 2005J. Drucker and N.K. Hayles review; response by Liu
    10. 10. Missing Histories “Whence Feminism?” and the history of feminisms in DH“Whence Feminism? Assessing Feminist Interventions in Digital Literary Archives” in forthcoming special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly on “The Literary” Q: How do we think about complex technological scenes, like those in DH, in feminist or queer terms? Q: Where might we locate the effects of feminist or queer interventions?Wikipedia: Meetup SFBeyond incorporating cultural studies insights, or a more “general liberatory ethics” intoour digital humanities work, we need a robust history of feminisms in digital humanitiesprojects and documentation of feminist engagements with digital tools, technologies, andpractices.
    11. 11. Communities of PracticeQ: What resources and opportunities are already available for those working on Women’s and Gender Studies and DH? Feminisms and DH Women in the Archives
    12. 12. Feminist Critiques of DHEven as we are looking to support communities of practice and develop new models for digital scholarship, as Cecire suggests, we need to do more to recognize the operations of privilege within DH• DH: dilates the critical power of doing – experiential knowledge• A “nondiscursive theoretical mode”• Also a masculine, white, industrialist modeThose working within gender and women’s studies are particularly well positioned to illuminate the political and “ethical dimension” of method and discourse – the ethos of DH.
    13. 13. “Chiffon” Interventions?Q: What kinds of infrastructural support can we establish to help advance projects that engage DH from GWS perspectives?Q: How can feminist or queer theoretical perspectives help us think about issues of monumentalism and ephemerality in digital media?
    14. 14. Two final questions• Is it desirable to federate disciplinarily diverse WS/GW DH work?• What kind of balance might we hope for between local/national/international interventions?- Thank you!