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for Digital Humanities and Gender History February 5, 2021

I’m here today to talk to you about something I call historical altmetrics  — an effort to find different ways of understanding influence in the past in order to incorporate individuals that scholars have too often relegated to the margins of history.  Historical Altmetrics aims to upend the historiographical hierarchies. Even if you are not particularly interested in the case study at the center of my book, the women’s liberation movement of the Anglophone world, this talk still has something for you. Doing gender history using tools borrowed from the digital humanities gives everyone something to think about.


At each step in historical altmetrics there is a challenge both for the researcher and the field of DH. We have been taught since the earliest ages what matters in history and more importantly whose history matters.  How does the use of digital approaches re-inscribe those priorities?  How can I compile custom corpora when what gets digitized reflects scholarly priorities that do not value the historical actors who most interest me?  How can I attend to the biases inherent in digital tools as I write histories of race and gender?  Even as I produce readings of the texts how do I decenter dominant voices that threaten to drown out others? Where do I fit as the researcher, telling stories of other people, stories that are not necessarily mine to tell?


My first case study looks at Causation.  This historiography starts with Sara Evans argument about the origins of the women’s liberation movement in the United States.  Since its publication in 1979, Evans has become the accepted account of a causal history that places a single document, “A Kind of Memo” by Casey Hayden and Mary King, written in 1965, as the origin of 1970s feminism.  Causation relies on examining when something happened which often has a who and a where attached to it.  This led me to a specific type of computer software, Entity recognition finds variables like names, dates, and places in  texts.   Entity recognition has the potential to shift attention away from the already-acknowledged central figures in a history, the names that are looking for when we go into archival sources, by finding less-familiar names that may be harder to track across many dispersed historical documents.  Entity recognition is complicated by many gendered factors of naming conventions including marital status and habits of referring to women by first names not last names, which makes disambiguating them more difficult. In this case,  Casey Hayden’s birth name is Sandra Cason. Her nickname is Casey and she married a man named Tom Hayden, who appears himself as a historical actor in many texts.

Hayden is the single most mentioned individual in Evans text and 1965, the date of Sex and Caste, highlighted in red, is the most invoked date although this some three years before the groups Evans’ identifies as the start of women’s liberation are even founded.  While Evans’ conducted extensive interviews with movement participants in the 1970s, she did not rely on the very early periodicals to emerge from women’s liberation. These then provide me with historical documents to use in evaluating her emphasis about Sex and Caste.  What computational evidence exists for early participations writing about or even distributing Sex and Caste provides a means for quantifying the causal influence it had beyond the well-known figures Evans interviewed.

This leads to a second set of problems that doing a history of gender highlights for the digital humanities  – texts that are suitable for machine readings are not widely available for historical actors who have been marginalized by the structures that both preserve historical sources and decided which are deserving of digitization. My movement periodical corpus contains roughly 10% of the known feminist periodicals from 1970-1990.  Working with  fifteen periodicals c 1968 and 1969, entity recognition results from these periodicals indicates that Hayden and King may not be deserving of such a central place in the origin story of women’s liberation.  Influence may be viewed two ways through these digital results, names extracted from a particular title gives insights into the most influential individuals for a particular periodical. These results suggest that we should attend more carefully to the local contexts as there is little overlap among the results.  However, if we look at names aggregated across titles, by the range of titles out of 15 in which an individual appears, some historical influencers  start to become more apparent.   Most significantly, this process emphasized the centrality of documents by one group of Black women in Mt. Vernon new York who while not unknown to the literature have yet to be incorporated in significant enough ways to challenge the accepted wisdom of Evans’ account which starts the women’s liberation movement with a document written by two white women.


Why does this matter? The tenacity of Evans’ interpretation the status it has as the received wisdom or standard account has significant implications for feminism today which traces its origins in many cases to the 1970s activists.  This current narrative anchors the birth of women’s liberation in white women’s negative emotional responses within the black freedom moment. Hayden and King’s memo is often mistakenly described as eliciting Stokely Carmichael’s infamous quip that the only position for women in the civil rights movement was on their backs.  This attribution is not only factually incorrect, that remark occurred in 1964 in regards to a different document that Hayden and King co-authored with two other women,  but it also misrepresents the moment, which has been thoroughly contextualized by women present at the time.  This conflation is more than a mistake. It is part and parcel of a larger narrative that white women were oppressed by black men within the civil rights movement and that experience both simultaneously raised their consciousness and propelled them into a movement of their own.  It also provides the foundation for white feminists claims, framed by the appropriation of the language of black power and through analogies that equated women with Blacks, that their autonomous movement was as justified as the movement to end racism.

Not only is this standard narrative centered on white women’s feelings, this interpretation prioritizes the early split from civil rights over the continuing interplay of women’s liberation and black power.  At its most damaging, this causal narrative centered on Sex and Caste leaves no space for groups like the Mt. Vernon one or for black women who continued to participate in groups like SNCC but also formed women’s committees within that organization.  These contributions have been perpetually sidelined or described as a response to white women’s feminism because of the tenacity of a narrative that is so firmly rooted in the 1965 memo.

Evans’ interpretation appeared in 1979 at the moment when the master narrative of women’s history was being formed.  In this account, the significance of women’s liberation relies in large part on its relation to the civil rights movement and through the tidy historical parallels with abolition and the nineteenth woman rights movement.  Thus above all the results of historical altmetrics suggests a more complex causation that attends to the dynamics of power relations in the past, It requires scholars to to wean themselves from over reliance on “firsts” to dig deeper. Finally it involves the very hard work of creating a causal narrative that resists establishing the historical significance of feminist activism by anchoring it to a larger “master narrative.”


My case study comes from an example of creating meaning chronologically?  Here the crucial date is 1982 when Barnard College held the Scholar and the Feminist conference on sexuality. This conference is generally positioned as the central event of the “sex wars” Depending on who you ask, the battles in the sex wars involved many different topics in relation to sexuality, but the most central were pornography and sadomasochism.  Sometimes 1982 is position as the transition from the second to third waves of feminism, while in other cases it is blamed for fragmenting or ending the second wave.  No matter what interpretive weight it carries, however, 1982 is a central temporal marker.

In order to know something has changed over time, we need a before and after  Because periodization rests on an implicit comparison, a specific statistic within computational linguistics keyness provides a good way to quantify this change. Keyness measures the extent to which one set of texts differs from another at a statistically significant rate. I first attempted to use keyness to measure trends in content through a semantic tagger, but the lexicon underneath did not reflect feminist uses of words. While I loved that women was coded as the first sex S2.1 and men as the S2.2, the conflation of things like anger and violence as a single tag did not work well for discourses that addressed violence against women. I then realized that the variant ways terms in this debate were framed (porn, porno, porny not to mention the use of hyphens ampersands and periods in various references to sadomasochism) meant that I needed to be able to constantly verify the word in context.  That led to me to a more basic corpus analysis tool.  However my tool problems were compounded by even bigger corpus problems than I had looking at the causation case study.  Thirty-two titles in my corpus ended before 1982.  Eight more periodicals lasted until 1984 and additional  eight continued until the late 1980s or into the 1990s.

Looking at relative word frequencies over time indicates  that at least in the sample titles the year 1982 takes on less significance in terms of debates over pornography.  The earlier peaks of 1979 and 1981 are consistent with nuanced histories of feminist activism on this issue.  This results suggests that if we re-orient ourselves away from New York City, some feminist communities  had their “sex war” in the 1970s.  It also indicates that while the 1982 conference might have been a moment, much debate  emerged n 1985 which coincides with the year feminists helped author an anti-pornography law for the US city of Minneapolis.

The case is less clear for sadomasochism which while already debated in some publications has a definite spike in 1982. However, as if the case with pronography,  the 1982 spike is dwarfed by subsequent spikes which are reflection of the never ending discussions and debates that played out in various periodicals,  If 1982 more a “bump In the road” than a definitive dividing line what is lost when we focus only on sexuality in this historical moment?  The early 1980s were a significant period of change; The decline in my corpus is indicative of that if nothing else.

That very question was posed by Audre Lorde in 1980. Returning to my initial method of keyness, I attempted ot answer Lorde’s query about which conflicts got sidelined by a focus on the sex wars?  I used corpus analysis software to generate lists of words that increased or decreased yearly.


For the sake of time, I’ll highlight just the year after the 1982 conference. A decline occurs with terms and people associated with the sex wars debate because less newspaper reporting occurred as the event receded into the past.  What content emerges in this year?  Two significant influences surface from feminists outside the US in these US feminist periodicals. The largest comes from the  Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp that inspired US feminists to create a similar encampment in Seneca Falls. There is also evidence of US feminists becoming active in protests of US foreign policy in Nicaragua. Secondly, Zami, the title of Audre Lorde’s enormously influential biomythography pops up quite high on the new content for 1983.

Other measures from corpus analytics can help to clarify these shifts in content over time.  Cluster analysis locates word patterns  formed in texts.  In this case, if some feminists were against pornography what else were they also against?   Interesting patterns emerged that confirm Lorde’s supposition that other concerns became sidelined by the focus on sexuality.  Looking at frequency rankings for clusters formed with against  illustrates that while in 1981 against racism edged out against pornography but ranked is reversed until 1986.   The situation is even more dire for against sterilization  a reference to the abuse of women, almost all poor women of color, by the medico-legal establishment.

Lorde mentioned sterilization abuse in a significant speech she delivered 1981 that I’ll end with.  What are we dividing when we periodize in 1982 or rather who is the “we” of the history that is said to break at such moments?  Much as I noted about the causal narrative of Sex and Caste, periodization based on the sex wars offers an affective history. Scholars often describe the sex wars as emotionally fraught. They are a  “painful” moment, but whose pain is being prioritized?  The 1982 conference was only one a string of feminist conferences beginning in the 1970s that involved intense debates and acrimony.  In 1981, the year before the Barnard Conference, a conference occurred that carries much more significance for another story of women’ s liberation. At the NWSA conference in Storrs, Connecticut, focused on the theme “Women respond to Racism”  Lorde delivered these remarks. The speech, published as The Uses of Anger has its own painful history.  The theme of this conference resulted from many  years of effort by black, latina, indigenous and other feminists of color to push, cajole, and challenge white feminists, particularly those individuals who had found a home within academia and thsu secured a certain sort of status to address racism.  But this conference is not generally positioned in relation to that long arc of second wave feminism which would include conferences going well back to the mid 1970s and writings published even earlier.  Instead Lorde and other Black and Latina feminists become a jumping off point for the next wave of feminism emerging in the 1980s.

Following Clare Hemmings then I ask what work is done by a chronological narrative that privileges 1982 as *the* pivotal date.  Dividing the line in 1982 creates a tidy barrier between bad anti porn (read racist white) feminists and a better (read racially inclusive pro sex) feminism to emerge.  The narrative translocates prominent voices like Lorde’s out of the 1970s and moves them into the 1980s as an inspiration for future third wave  feminists.  This atemporal approach places Black feminists as out of time, ignoring that most of Lorde’s work cited from the 1970s originated as talks given at significant feminist conferences  and specifically engaged issues that emerged out of activism in that decade. Historical altmetrics highlights the need to reject single event chronologies. It challenges us to resist recuperative periodization. Most significantly, it requires asking whose histories are centered in chronological accounts of feminism.







doing digital history with undergraduates

Helen Hunt Jackson's Century of Dishonor and Dawes Act Voyant text visualization  

Teaching with visual images using photogrammar 

Teaching close-reading in the history classroom with Juxta

PROJECT - Sex and Caste 50th anniversary SCALAR TUMBLR

Teaching With Social Media Platforms 

teaching students to edit Wikipedia

5 steps to a successful digital history project

Historical Altmetrics: Measuring Significance with Digital History

Elevator Pitch

Historical altmetrics, an approach to studying significance in the past, relies on analysis of digital archives to quantify what mattered most in the past. Using nine custom corpora and four digital tools, this book answers four common types of historical questions generated from the historiography of the US women’s movement.

OVERVIEW (without the buzzwords):

This book introduces readers to an approach for studying what mattered in the past. It adapts altmetrics, a born-digital concept that seeks to measure influence beyond traditional indicators, to historical research. Within academia, altmetrics have been used to move beyond citation counts to propose alternative means of identifying the impact of an academic’s work.   Historical altmetrics relies on computational analysis of digitized archival sources to help us better understand and contextualize historical importance.

Historical Altmetrics takes up the US women’s movement of the 1970s and 1980s as a case study, but the questions addressed are common to all historical research. In The Historian’s Toolbox, Robert C Williams identifies broad categories of historical inquiry including issues of causation of specific historical events, investigation of the origins of intellectual concepts, identification of the role of specific individuals in historical events, and analysis of broad historical trends. Four of these queries lie at the heart of this book: What caused the emergence of second-wave feminism? Did different ideologies divide feminists? Who were the influential individuals in the US women’s movement? Were the Sex Wars a definitive event for the women’s movement? This book revisits how people have answered these questions in the past and assesses what evidence digital analysis offers for supporting or overturning prior interpretations. As a result, it offers a thoroughgoing reassessment of the stock narrative of the women’s movement from its origins and ideologies through the conferences and publications where these ideas were developed and debated.

This book utilizes multiple tools to analyze many types of historical texts. The narrative of Historical Altmetrics follows people and concepts identified by computational analysis of archival documents into mass-market anthologies and bestsellers that circulated feminism to a wider audience.   They are then traced through trade press overviews of the women’s movement and into the scholarly discussion that occurred at conferences, in journals, monographs, anthologies, and textbooks.   At each level of historicizing, from primary sources to secondary, the results of computational analysis indicate that the standard account of the movement narrowed down as it solidified, giving too much credit to certain texts, over-emphasizing ideological differences, inflating some individual’s importance, and drawing on limited evidence.



Historical Altmetrics has three goals: to craft a narrative that is intelligible to historians who are not engaged in digital humanities, to illustrate how historians without significant technical skills or outside assistance can conduct computational analyses of historical sources, and to offer a historical argument based on computationally derived evidence. In order to persuade digital skeptics, this book conforms to the genre of a traditional monograph. The idea is to write a history that reads like any other to offer a persuasive argument for the thesis – the results of digital analysis of historical sources force us to reassess the standard account of US women’s movements.   In the process, the utility of digital history for making historical arguments is demonstrated, which will make it of interest to historians who are not in the field of women’s history. By focusing on a case study from women’s history, Historical Altmetrics is also part of a broader effort to push the digital humanities beyond the canonical.

Historical altmetrics requires historians to consider more carefully the creation of a balanced corpus of machine-readable historical sources. Just as historians consult very specific materials in physical archives, they need to create customized bodies of digitized text for computational analysis based on the historical queries they wish to answer. While there has been excellent work done based on one body of texts, such as a single newspaper title or historical source, such as a diary, this approach will not be sufficient for answering all historical inquiries. The nine corpora used in the study are varied. At the grassroots level, there are activist produced periodicals and mass-market anthologies that disseminated the ideas of the movement. Trade presses published both bestselling feminist tracts and historical overviews aimed at a general audience. However, the stock narrative of the women’s movement is largely reliant on academic conferences, scholarly periodicals, monographs, textbooks, and academic anthologies, which make up the balance of the corpora.

Just as historical altmetrics relies on many different kinds of texts, it also draws on multiple digital tools. The reader is introduced to the use of natural language processing software for entity recognition, which automates identification of names, geographical locations, dates, and organizations in texts. Borrowed from linguistics, corpus analysis offers both a workflow to follow and software packages that calculate relationships among words in texts and across bodies of texts. This software also facilitates qualitative text analysis through various displays of the quantitative results in the text itself. Network analysis calculates ties between people, groups or institutions to explore different kinds of relationships, from central influencers, who have many important connections, to bridge people who link disparate groups. Finally, visualizations of quantified results are used to gain greater understanding of changes over time, place, and space.

The last step in historical altmetrics involves an iterative process of close readings of texts based on the results of computational analysis. Without this step, digital history cannot hope to persuade skeptics of its utility. The results of computational analysis are used to point the way to close readings of particular texts, which then generate more questions for computational analysis. The process is repeated many times, with different corpora and leading to the use of different digital tools.   Only when repeated and combined does the process yield evidence that can be used to craft a historical interpretation.


Chapter Outline

Introduction: This overview introduces the idea of historical altmetrics as a method for studying significance in the past. It argues for the need to create custom “digital archives” specific to the task of a historian, using the nine custom corpora that are the foundation of this book as an example. The necessity of digital history approaches is laid out in a non-technical explanation of the four digital tools used in this book to answer the four common types of historical questions. The case study of women’s history is justified in the exploration of the four queries at the center of this book, which are generated from the historiography of the US women’s movement. An outline of the subsequent chapters gives the reader adequate signposts to either follow the book in a linear fashion or to jump to the historical question or digital tool that interests them most.

Chapter one asks how do we understand issues of causation in relation to historical events? The case study revolves around Sara Evans’ argument about the origins of the women’s liberation movement in the United States. Since its publication in 1979, Personal Politics: The Origins of Women’s Liberation in Civil Rights and The New Left has become the standard account of this history. Evans’ nuanced argument about the connections between civil rights, the new left and women’s liberation, is often reduced to a very small number of influential individuals, best exemplified by the place “A Kind of Memo” by Casey Hayden and Mary King has come to occupy in the historiography of the women’s movement.   Despite immediate criticism of Evans’ work by civil rights activists, including Hayden herself, and decades of subsequent scholarship on the same subject, the thesis of Personal Politics remains “one of those rare scholarly arguments that has persisted virtually unchallenged for more than two decades.” This chapter seeks to shift this historiography by digitally analyzing key texts produced by women’s liberation activists in the earliest years of the movement to determine whom they referenced most, which texts were discussed frequently, and what locations were prominent. Because activist periodicals seldom hewed to scholarly practices of footnotes or bibliographies, documenting influence through citations simply does not work. However, entity recognition, a form of natural language processing that locates people’s names, offers a way to compile a list of frequently mentioned individuals. These historical subjects, identified in periodicals produced by women’s liberation activists circa 1968 and 1969, are traced through mass-market anthologies published around 1970 to 1971 which exposed a wider audience to the women’s movement. The fate of these figures is followed into historical monographs published between 1975 and 2005 to illustrate that scholars themselves are largely responsible for the idea of a single influential individual launching the women’s movement. The revised narrative that ends the chapter argues for an expanded cast of historical figures, refocused attention on white women in the south, and an emphasis on the role of black feminists.

The query at the heart of chapter two is what role did ideas play in the past?   The case study examines the historical model that holds that clearly identifiable ideologies existed within the women’s movement, which has led to the historiographical thesis that ideologies divided the women’s movement.   Alice Echols’ Daring to Be Bad, described as ”the definitive history of radical feminism,” argued that splintering between factions of feminists was to blame for the demise of the women’s movement. Her exploration of the concept of “cultural feminism,” a label adopted by virtually no individual in the past, has been permanently incorporated into taxonomies of feminism. The chapter uses corpus analysis software to investigate how feminists wrote about ideas. This software detects relationships between words in texts, which can then be used to make an argument about whether ideologies existed that align with scholarly taxonomies of feminist thought.   Three measurements are used to compare texts: keyword analysis indicates which words appeared more in one text than in a comparison text, collocation shows words that frequently appear together, and semantic tagging categorizes the relative frequency of words that are grouped together by their similar meanings. The process is applied to three bodies of texts. Two sub-corpora of feminist periodicals have been created. The first contains periodicals by groups that did self-identify with a particularly ideology (for example the socialist feminist Chicago Women’s Liberation Union sponsored several periodicals, New York Radical Feminists had a newsletter) and the second contains periodicals that authors have pointed to as part of a particular strand of feminism (i.e. aligned with cultural feminism such as Chrysalis, Quest, with anarcho-feminist such as The Second Wave, or as politico such as Woman: A Journal of Liberation ). The same process is applied to feminist bestsellers that have been self-identified or identified by scholars as aligned with a particular strand of feminist thought. These results are then compared to how scholars have written about feminist ideology in academic journals, monographs, and textbooks. Results of this analysis suggest that descriptions of “wings” or “branches” of the women’s movement have been overly emphasized. The chapter ends with a discussion of three periodicals: an activist magazine, a scholarly journal, and a tittle that straddled that divide, to illustrate how porous the boundaries between feminist ideologies were during the 1970s.

Chapter 3 attempts to answer the question which individuals were important in specific historical events? The case study examines participants in feminist conferences during the mid to late 1970s. While the other chapters in this book target a historiographical conclusion, this chapter aims at an omission. As Evelynn Hammond has noted, feminist conferences were “one of the most important sites of the articulation and enactment of feminism in the United States … In the stormy history of feminist theory, we need entire conference narratives: a potential academic subgenre.”   When conferences do appear in the literature, they are usually described as sites of destructive dissent. This chapter employs social network analysis to analyze conferences as a crucial locale for both generating feminist theory and as a liminal location that transcended the increasing divide between activist and academic thinkers. Archival copies of conference programs for The Scholar and the Feminist, The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and the National Women’s Studies Association meetings from the 1970s and 1980s form a dataset for this analysis. Results suggest that feminist conferences were precursors to today’s knowledge communities. The concluding narrative picks up where the last chapter’s left off, arguing that the interplay among feminists inside and outside of academia as they developed feminist thought has been ignored. The account offered highlights a host of previously ignored knowledge facilitators, publishers, editors, and librarians who were crucial to the development of feminist thought.

The final chapter pulls the prior three together to address the issue of periodization in history. The question is addressed through the case study of a single feminist conference, the 1982 Scholar and The Feminist Towards a Politics of Sexuality, which has been blamed for ending second wave feminism by launching the sex wars. As one scholar has noted, “While familiar periodizing categories have been declared inappropriate for the history of women, they have not usually been replaced by alternative schemas.” This chapter questions the very notion that the sex wars is a pivotal date in the US women’s movement. It builds on Audre Lorde’s perspicacious observation that the sex wars were “perhaps being used to draw attention and energies away from other more pressing and immediate life-threatening issues facing us as women” to compare activists’ writing before and after 1982. This chapter relies on all the digital tools of the preceding chapters, entity recognition, corpus analysis, and network analysis, to draw evidence from activist periodicals and academic feminist journals circa 1975 to 1985 to explore how content changed before and after 1982. The texts are divided into historical sub-corpora for diachronic comparison. A corpus analysis workflow that plots the frequencies of people, organizations, and terms in each sub-corpus measures how their presence changed over time. The iterative process of moving from these results to reading through the concordance facilitates analysis of the context of the identified shifts. The changes found do not align with people, groups, or concepts associate with the Sex Wars. However, both entity recognition and network analysis illustrate the process by which, after 1982, the scholarly analyses of the women’s movement began to systemically exclude women who were considered to be on the “anti-sex” or “anti-pornography” side of the Sex Wars.



This chapter explores a dominant story that academics tell about a particular historical document that has been identified as playing a key role in the development of US women’s liberation.  Casey Hayden drafted A Kind of Memo to address her hopes and concerns about the freedom movement to other female participants. Her friend Mary King helped her to edit it and appended her signature before the document was mailed to thirty-five women in November of 1965.

Although Hayden and King left social movement organizing immediately following this event, their missive took on a life of its own. Passed hand to hand in mimeographed form, it found its way into the packet of materials distributed at the December 1965 “rethinking” conference organized by SDS; Retitled Sex and Caste it reached a wide audience in the New Left when it appeared in the April 1966 issue of Liberation.

In 1979, Sara Evans positioned Hayden and King’s Memo as the bridge that connected civil rights and women’s liberation. In this account of the origins of women’s liberation, the Memo functions to legitimize women’s autonomous organizing on their own behalf. Rather than women’s liberation emerging from Friedan’s unhappy housewife, this account locates the impetus for feminism in white women’s experiences of sexism in the civil rights movement.

Digital analysis of texts published prior to Personal Politics (1979) suggests that A Kind of Memo circulated via three “viral” sentences. that spread a narrative of identity, affect, and primacy.  Consequently, the origins of women’s liberation have been rooted in white women, an occlusion of the presence and contributions of black women, and a conflation of primacy with influence.

The first frequently reprinted description of A Kind of Memo appeared in an essay by Linda Seese (figure 1).

In the fall of 1965, Casey Hayden and Mary King, two white women from the South who had been very active in SNCC and ERAP for years, wrote an article on women for the movement in the now-defunct journal, Studies on the Left.

Screenshot of Reveal Digital Independent Voices









Identity “2 white women”

Affective “storm of controversy” Marlene Dixon in Radical America reprinted From Feminism to Liberation (error Hayden interview in SOTL)

temporal “the first” Jo Freeman essay reprinted widely


Positioning a document authored by white women as the lynchpin between civil rights movement and women’s liberation inevitably and inexorably anchors women’s liberation in whiteness and more significantly white women’s encounters with blackness. The document suggested some “some parallels … between treatment of Negroes and treatment of women in our society,” and explored the way a sexual caste system, like a racial caste system normalized inequities. In women’s case, “system” that “uses and exploits women” functions invisibly, attributed to “biological differences” or “the ways things are supposed to be,” both pervasive assumptions that translated into women’s subordinate roles.

While Hayden’s analysis doubtlessly encapsulated many insights that drew individuals to women’s liberation, the document itself is barely mentioned in the first periodicals of the nascent movement, nor does it appear in the mass market anthologies that widely disseminated the ideas of women’s liberation.

If not this document, then what others can be identified with digital approaches?




notes for 20 minutes presentation at Chemical Heritage Society, May 27, 2016

What tools are available for digital history work? Are there barriers to bringing those tools into work in the history of STEMM?  How do we take methodologies that Jevin discussed this AM, which work on citation analysis or co-PI relationships to detect community, and use them on something like an oral history transcript or a less structured data set.  How do we grapple with fact that even as digital databases make work more accessible, people’s citation practices have narrowed.  How do community relationships explain why people cite who they cite, how can acknowledgements or mentions in text help to explain this?

Eugenics Rubicon – challenges of constructing datasets
Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement – curated content
Quipu Project Incredibly beautiful and moving way of capturing and presenting oral testimony with community

You Have No Right: Law and Justice in Virginia an Omeka project
Not all things digital but some maps Sterilization Sites in the US  and European countries that sterilize trans people and India’s history of sterilization

Cautionary, older uses of data viz by eugenicists remind us of important ethical issue of removing the “people”

Some different ways of thinking about representing oral history transcripts and hot off the blogosphere just today, fabulous example of using NLP to arrange collections

Final thought We don’t need new tools, but need to use tools that exist better,
If you can figure it out in an hour it probably isn’t deep enough to hang a history on.

digital historiography attempts

digital publications 


AbolitionistsAnthropologistsArchitectsBotanistsCivil War FiguresClassicistsEducational ReformersFeministsHealth ReformersHistoriansIndian ReformersLabor LeadersLabor ReformersLawyersLiterary ScholarsNursesPaintersPeace AdvocatesPrison ReformersPropagandistsSettlement House LeadersSocial WorkersSocialists & RadicalsTemperance AdvocatesWelfare Work Leaderssuffragists

Resources for Text Visualization and Corpus Linguistics, Department of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor January 8, 2016
 Infographic from talk with links to projects discussed

Juxta Commons (NINES video tutorial)
Anctonc download Page  Laurence Anthony’s video tutorials
Heather Froehlich’s Programming Historian Tutorial on Antconc
Dropbox files to play with or you can log into Women and Social Movements and grab your own

Call for Digital Projects Women and Social Movements