New Article from the Man Into Woman Project Team
Congratulations to Prof. Pamela Caughie (English), Emily Datskou (PhD Candidate in English), and Rebecca Parker (MA Candidate in Digital Humanities) for the publication of “Storm Clouds on the Horizon: Feminist Ontologies and the Problem of Gender” in the most recent issue of Feminist Modernist Studies.
This article comes out of their work on the Man Into Woman Project, a digital comparative scholarly edition of Fra Mand til Kvinde (Man into Woman), the first full-length narrative of a subject who undergoes a surgical change in sex. This resource will provide searchable versions of all four editions (Danish, German, British and American) as well as the German typescript and the first English language translation of the Danish edition.
The article was also inspired by the CTSDH conference this past spring which Caughie co-organized, Transformative Digital Humanities: Feminist Interventions in Structure, Representation, and Practice. This conference brought humanities scholars, librarians, archivists, digital historians, and others to campus to connect and participate in a day of discussion that will address questions about the organizational and technical infrastructures needed to support transformative digital research and consider alternative modes of representing gender and race in digital archives.
The journal can be accessed through the Loyola University Libraries at this link (https://www-tandfonline-com.flagship.luc.edu/loi/rfmd20) by those who have a Loyola UVID.
Feminist digital humanities is no longer focused primarily on recovering and preserving works by women authors. Feminist scholars are currently engaged in changing information design and data visualizations. However, as feminists seek to create new ontologies of gender, they face difficulties posed not only by current encoding standards, but by changing concepts of gender. Can ontologies ever capture the complex, multi-layered, dynamic nature of gender identities? This question is especially challenging when dealing with modernist works that represent gender and sexual identities at the very moment of their emergence as such. Our work on a digital edition and archive of Man into Woman (1933), the life narrative of Lili Elbe, one of the first persons to undergo gender affirmation surgery, has brought home to us both the pressing need for feminist interventions in data models and gender ontologies, and the difficulties if not impossibility of any adequate ontology of gender. In answer to the question posed above, we respond, only if we revise our concept of what the end result is: the linked data network visualization must capture a temporal process and not a snapshot of a static moment or even a series of moments.