Feminist digital humanities

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Feminist Digital Humanities is a more recent development in the field of Digital Humanities as a whole. Feminist Digital Humanities has risen partly due to recent criticism of the propensity of Digital Humanities to[1] further patriarchal or hegemonic discourses in the Academy.[2] Some of the research in feminist digital humanities centres on the exclusion of women from histories of technology[3] and the use of technology to promote feminist scholarship. Feminist Digital Humanities emphasizes the role of women, feminists, and cyberfeminists in technology, overturning ideas such as “Men invented the Internet”, as written in a June 2012 New York Times article.[4]

A list[5] of women in the digital humanities begun by Jacqueline Wernimont makes available a compendium of women working in the field.


Media Theorist Lisa Nakamura notes that "[as] women of color acquire an increasing presence online, their particular interests which spring directly from gender and racial identifications, that is to say, those identities associated with a physical body off-line, are being addressed."[6] Likewise, Science and Technology Studies professor Donna Haraway has also pioneered specifically feminist approaches to the study of digital humanities.[7]

This intervention is notably crystallized in the work of FemTechNet, "an activated network of scholars, artists, and students who work on, with, and at the borders of technology, science and feminism in a variety of fields including STS, Media and Visual Studies, Art, Women’s, Queer, and Ethnic Studies".[8] FemTechNet has collaborated on a number of projects that reflect the aims of Feminist Digital Humanities, including Wikistorming, DOCC: Distributed Open Collaborative Course, and video dialogues. Their methods emphasize distribution through networks to connect diverse institutions, nations, and fields.[9]

Professors of Digital Humanities, Bethany Nowviskie and Miriam Posner have blogged about the structures in place that have kept women from engaging in digital humanities. There have been efforts to increase the racial representations within the field as well. These feminist digital humanities projects include #transformDH, That Camp Theory, Critical Code Studies, and Crunk Feminist Collective.[10][11] Black Girls Code is a project that has recently garnered attention, with founder Kimberly Bryant receiving a Standing O-vation presented by Toyota and Oprah Winfrey.[12]


One goal of feminist literary scholars has been to increase the scope of women's literary works in visible archives. The Orlando Project and The Women Writers Project are two early projects that undertook the task of filling in the gaps that existed in literary history in the 1980s.[13] Both efforts sought to use the electronic format "to overcome the problems of inaccessibility and scarcity which had rendered women’s writing invisible for so long."[14][13] One critique of a content-oriented approach to combating the marginalization of women's literary works is that it's simply not enough to add content to a system that is built upon a patriarchal methodology. "Literary scholars who depend on archival or rare book materials still confront, whether they acknowledge it or not, the legacy of an institutional form through which patriarchal power exercised the authority to determine value, classification, and access."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Women in DH". Google Docs. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  2. ^ Liu, Alan (2012). "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?". In Matthew K. Gold (ed.). Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P.
  3. ^ Chun, Wendy (2004). "On Software, or the Persistence of Visible Knowledge". Grey Room.
  4. ^ "Lawsuit Shakes Foundation of a Man's World of Tech". The New York Times. 3 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Women in DH". Google Docs. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  6. ^ Nakamura, Lisa. “Cybertyping and the Work of Race in the Age of Digital Reproduction.” New Media, Old Media. Eds. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Thomas Keenan. Routledge: New York, 2006.p321
  7. ^ Wajcman, Judy. “Addressing Technological Change: The Challenge to Social Theory.” Society, Ethics and Technology. Eds. Morton E. Winston and Ralph D. Edelbach. Cengage Learning: 2011. Page 112.
  8. ^ http://femtechnet.newschool.edu/directories/
  9. ^ http://femtechnet.newschool.edu/docc2013/
  10. ^ http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/
  11. ^ Bailey, Moya Z. (2011). "All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave". Journal of Digital Humanities.
  12. ^ Shumaker, Laura (2014). ""Oprah gives San Francisco's Kimberly Bryant a Standing O-vation"". SFGate.
  13. ^ a b c Wernimont, Jacqueline (2013). "Whence Feminism? Assessing Feminist Interventions in Digital Literary Archives". Digital Humanities Quarterly. The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.
  14. ^ "WWP has moved".