The Politics of Research in the Digital Humanities

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Jacqueline Wernimont (English, Scripps College) asks (here), “Can XML be feminist?”

I’m currently working on an article that considers certain digital archives and their technological structures from a feminist perspective. Of particular interest to me is the possibility of feminist technologies….[T]echnologies are not simply artifacts which open themselves up to study – instead, we have to think of technology in terms of sociotechnical relationships, in terms of “systems” and “social relations.” So an analysis of feminist technology is always also going to be an analysis of technological practice and culture

So can XML be feminist? I’m still working on that. Can C++ or Python be feminist? – someone else should tackle that (and many other someones should go at the rest of the toolbox). What is clear to me at this point is that questions about tools are critical because they are questions about both the technical and social culture of our field – about how we make, how we know, and how we assert and deploy authority. I’d like to think that there is a place within DH (an everywhere kind of place would be great) for tools that empower women…but would I say that we are currently in a situation where the tools we’re using or wishing to use help to create “equitable social relations” or “more equitable relations”? I’m not yet sure.

Read her full post here.

-Bridget Crawford

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