Category: gender

Feminisms and Technology, a bibliography in progress

I’ve been working on a now forthcoming article on feminisms and digital archives (for Spring DHQ) for a couple of years now. While the article initially was going to ask if XML and XSLT (markup and transformation languages used in many digital archives) could be thought of as feminist, I ended up writing a piece that talks about how difficult that question is to even ask. There are incredibly complex social scenes in which these tools are deployed, and most work today in technology studies acknowledges the “technosocial” scene as important to theorizing a tool. But even before dealing with the scenes of tool usage, I found that I had an incredibly difficult time finding many good resources on feminisms and digital technology of the sort used in digital archives. In even the best of situations, I was using work that addressed very different kinds of technology and that presents certain challenges.

The FemTechNet list has recently been chewing over the issue of feminist technologies and tools and others have noted the relative paucity of the literature. So, in the collaborative and distributed spirit of FemTechNet, I’d like to ask for your help adding to my bibliography. This particular piece has a specific focus, but I’m interested in developing a much larger bibliography so please comment with any citations that you think are relevant to the study of feminist technology/information design/digital tools. I’ll repost an updated bibl for those who are interested.


[Balzas 2000] Balzas, S. “The Orlando Project.” 2000.

[Bianco 2012] Bianco, J.S. “This Digital Humanities Which is Not One,” Debates in the Digital Humanities, Matthew K. Gold, ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012: 97

[Booth 2008] Booth, A. “Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present (review).” Biography, 31.4 (2008): 725-734.

[Brown, et al Unknown] Brown, S., Clements, P., and Grundy, I. “Documentation.” Unknown.

[Brown, et al 2005] Brown, S., Clements, P., Elio, R. and Grundy, I. “Between markup and delivery: Tomorrow’s electronic text today” in R. Seimens (Ed.), Mind Technologies, 15-32. University of Calgary Press, 2005.

[Brown, et al 2010] Brown, S., Clements, P., and Grundy, I. “The Orlando Project.” 2010.

[Brown, et al 2007] Brown, S., Clements, P., Grundy, I., and Balazs, S. “An Introduction to The Orlando Project” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 26.1 (2007): pp. 127-134.

[Craig, et al 2011] Craig, C. J., Turcotte, J. F., and Coombe, R. “What is Feminist About Open Access?: A Relational Approach to Copyright in the Academy” Feminists@law, 1.1 (2011): pp. 1-35.

[Davidson 2008] Davidson, C. “Humanities 2.0: Promise, Perils, Prediction” PMLA 123.3 (2008): pp. 707-717.

[Earhart 2012] “Recovering the Recovered Text: Diversity, Canon Building, and Digital Studies.” This talk was given at DH2012 in Hamburg, and in a modified format at the University of Kansas. The video of the latter can be found here

[Flanders 2007] Flanders, J. “Electronic Textual Editing: The Women Writers Project: A Digital Anthology.” In J. Unsworth, K. Brian O’Keeffe, and L. Burnard, Electronic Text Editing

[Flanders and Wernimont 2010] — and Wernimont, J. “Feminism in the Age of Digital Archives: The Women Writers Project” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 29.2 (2010): 425-435.

[Fraiman 2008] Fraiman, S. “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens—With Help from a New Digital Resource for Literary Scholars,” Modern Philology, 106.1 (2008): pp. 142-48.

[Freshwater 2003] Freshwater, H. “The Allure of the Archive” Poetics Today, 24.4 (2003): pp. 729-758.

[Haraway 1991] Haraway, D. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth-Century,” Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the reinvention of nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. Available at

[Juhasz 2010] Juhasz, A. “The Views of the Feminist Archive”

[McPherson 2012] McPherson, T. “Why are the Digital Humanities So White? Or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation,” Debates in the Digital Humanities, Matthew K. Gold, ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012: 142.

[Rooney 2006] Rooney, E. “Introduction” The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Literary Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006: 1-10.

[Rowe-Finkbeiner 2004] Rowe-Finkbeiner, K. The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy (Seal Press 2004).

[Rosser 2005] Rosser, S. “Through the Lenses of Feminist Theory: Focus on Women and Information Technology.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 26.1 (2005): pp. 1-23.

[Skloot 2011] Skloot, R. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Broadway Publishing (2011).

[Smith 2007] Smith, M. N. “The Human Touch, Software of the Highest Order: Revisiting Editing as Interpretation” Textual Cultures, 2.1 (2007): pp. 1-15.

[Steedman 2002] Steedman, C. Dust: The Archive and Cultural History New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press (2002).

[Travitsky and Prescott 2009] Travitsky, B. S. and A. L. Prescott. “Studying and Editing Early Modern Englishwomen: Then and Now” in (Ed) A. Hollinshead Hurley and C. Goodblatt, Women Editing/Editing Women: Early Modern Women Writers and the New Textualism, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2009): pp. 1-17.

[Wajcman 1991] Wajcman, Feminism Confronts Technology. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press (1991).


[Wajcman 2010] Wajcman, J.  “Feminist Theories of Technology,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34 (2010): pp. 3143–152.

[WWP History]

Creating a voice and a place with digital tools

The following post written by Beatriz Maldonado draws on her experiences in the “Creating Archives” course at Scripps College.

Unfamiliar Territory
When I began this course, I was pretty unfamiliar with online resources for archives, museums, or academic sites. In some ways I felt that I wasn’t “allowed” to go into that sphere, that I was not academically prepared to find, challenge, or really even use a broad variety of web resources. I certainly wasn’t aware that these (Omeka and Scalar) programs existed and were available to me. I don’t know that I can state it strongly enough – it wasn’t just an issue of not finding the resources; it was that I didn’t even know that the possibility for such things existed. I had to learn what it meant to find the sources, how they and their histories matter, and how I might participate in the making of such sources myself.

My feelings of anxiety were not just limited to official websites, they were there for social media too. We participated in the Day of Digital Archives using twitter and I was so nervous: I know they say that there aren’t stupid questions, but I worried that I was just going to ask stupid questions.

Gateway Technology
Our course included a set of readings on the history of archives and libraries and Prof. Wernimont asked us to post each week to our online course management system, Sakai, with responses to those readings. This was a really important technique for me – it was a way of transforming my internal voice into an external one – even though our class forum was a private online space, it was like a gateway to participating in the digital community.

Before the class, I was unlikely to think of posting online. It wasn’t that I didn’t have something worthwhile or interesting to say – I felt that I did – but I felt that I hadn’t yet received enough training for my voice to really count in an Internet community. I thought that my readers would specifically denounce me as false, attacking me for lack of credibility. By the end of the course, it had become clear to me that in fact, I have been preparing for this and I have the authority to make an argument that people will want to read.

A numbers crisis
Prof. Wernimont kept pointing us to the ways that archives are crafted by choices, that people decide what is important to keep and that those decisions affect the histories we can write. As I was working through the Denison collections, I came across minutes from meetings where people talked about increasing diversity, but these documents talked in terms of percentages, of numbers of people. Administrators were focused on increasing the number of students of color on the campus and that was it.

The more I read, the more I found myself seeing other people only as numbers as well. I felt myself wondering if this was how I was going to be written about in the future – as a number. I wanted to know why other histories weren’t here – histories of Café con Leche or the women before me who also had felt as though they didn’t quite fit in. There was almost no history of Latina women here at the college. I was very angry; I wanted to ditch the project, it’s hard to be passionate about a project when you feel no connection and I didn’t see a way for me to feel connected. I wondered how I was ever going to feel connected to my college – at home here – when I couldn’t find a way to connect to its history.

But I did not lose hope; I had a strong desire to make a statement. After all, I wanted my project to mean and say something powerful. I kept digging, searching for the record of something meaningful for me. When I came across the Alexander Protests in the Student Unrest Archives, I was set. I kept thinking to myself, “in the year that I was born, students were fighting to preserve and maintain a college major that I am currently following now” (American Studies). At that moment I felt the responsibility to carefully voice the protests in the best way possible. With that responsibility I began to feel more comfortable in accepting that challenge I had feared for so long.

With passion, a student has the ability to create a great deal of change. Not just change in the world, but change for one’s self. As I created the Scalar book, I was writing a history of cultural diversity at the Claremont Colleges and a place for myself as a Latina. The book, authored in Scalar and titled Honk for Diversity, uses archival material to recount the week of the Alexander Protests where countless students and faculty of the Claremont Colleges united to fight for more cultural diversity within the Colleges (you can also check out the other student archives at the Creating Archives site)

Going Public
I never mentioned it to my professor, but I was afraid to give her permission to “make my Scalar book public.” I was afraid that by making it possible to see my book, I was also giving people permission to criticize it. Of course, I understand that criticism serves as a way to improve, but also functions as a way to create doubt – in the argument, in my ability to express an idea.

But I knew that it all had to begin from somewhere. If I kept feeding my fear of not exposing certain information because of outside rejection, what I discovered in the archive would remain unknown. Instead of challenging ideals, I would simply be conforming to them. I think, above all, this experience helped to strengthen my confidence.

Not only did I learn new information, but I was also able to present it in such a way that it became accessible to the rest of the world. I also learned that feeling at home in college is not about choosing an already existing path – I previously had wondered why I couldn’t just “click” on a path here at Scripps – instead, in order to feel at home at Scripps, I had to create a path for myself, my own option to “click.” I too had to become part of the cycle of opening the gateways to knowledge and make a place for myself.

Now I know that I hold the power, I hold the agency, I hold the voice.

Coda: Prof Wernimont’s Thoughts
I’m not going to add a whole lot here, as I think Bea’s story deserves to stand on its own. I do want to say, however, that her story and her experience still gives me goosebumps because of what it says about the power of both primary research and digital technology to intervene in the effects of race, class, and gender. At a time where many faculty think of students like Bea as “digital natives,” I am struck by her story’s demonstration of how challenging the public spaces of the Internet can be and how powerful it is to find one’s voice. Bea’s experience working with the archival material and digital authoring/publishing tools was challenging, sometimes painful, and, finally, empowering. I hope that her willingness to share her experiences will help illuminate one way in which our sometimes abstract discussions about race, class, gender, and sexuality vis-à-vis the digital humanities have real impact in the lives of our students.