The use of digital tools including large-scale document digitization, databases allowing for quantitative approaches, and digital stylometrics has revolutionised the study of historical female authorship and book culture. In an edited volume to be submitted to Brill’s peer-reviewed series Women Writers in History, we seek to interrogate how such digital tools can help scholars reconstruct women’s interactions with the written word in the period from the Middle Ages to circa 1940. Moving beyond women’s writing alone, we wish to consider various facets of women’s authorly identities, including less visible roles as collectors and book buyers, cultural brokers, and female re-uses of older textual material. How can digital tools help scholars understand historical constructions of public female identities? Conversely, can big-data approaches shed light on the circulation of female-authored texts across both public and private networks and forms of sociability? Which tools and methodologies have proven most useful to studies of historical female interventions in the cultural field, and what technical challenges still lie ahead?
Essays should ideally move beyond individual case studies to address the larger implications – both for women’s studies, and/or for digital humanities – of the topics discussed, and explicitly address how the specificity of women’s historical interventions creates new challenges for historians using digital tools. We are particularly interested in essays that not only present ‘results’, but also examine the specific issues faced by digital projects – both small-scale, individual projects as well as large, team-based ones – on women’s authorship, from funding constraints to database design and data modelling choices, and issues pertaining to long-term sustainability and data re-use.
We invite 300-word proposals for English-language articles, to be sent to both volume editors, Lieke van Deinsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alicia C. Montoya (email@example.com), by March 1st, 2023. Authors will receive notification of acceptance by April 1st, with full articles (6000 – 8000 words, including notes) due by August 31, 2023.
The volume will be submitted for publication to the peer-reviewed series Women Writers in History (Brill Publishers).