Project Name: Visualizing the Victorian Sportswoman
Grantee: Julia Fuller
Funding Cycle: 2019-2020
Project Status: In progress
About the Project:
Visualizing the Victorian Sportswoman (VisVS) is a public-facing WordPress site (victoriansportswomen.org) that accompanies my dissertation on the topic of strong female bodies and identity formation in nineteenth-century British literature and visual culture. This is a multimodal project, because the Sportswoman was not just a literary formation but also a visual phenomenon: the subject of fine art paintings, novel and periodical illustrations, sketches for news and sports reporting, cartoons, and advertisements. The digital component of my project crafts a visual approach to this Victorian imagery, borrowing art techniques to produce innovative renderings of gendered embodiment. VisVS re-envisions my research in the context of a Victorian Studies or Gender Studies course, as I aim to turn image analysis into an (inter)active critical process of looking together that assists viewers in developing their own resources for doing humanistic inquiry. The site is designed as an activation environment: it teaches a hermeneutic method by modeling acts of interpretation, ways of seeing, and steps in creating meaning, and includes expandable image banks for use in teaching and learning, while inviting the viewer to practice the interpretative skills they’ve learned with the assistance of prompts to jumpstart critical engagement. Departing from the large-scale computational approach of many recent image analysis projects in the digital humanities, VisVS serves as an example of nontraditional research that experiments with using the more caring models that shape humanistic pedagogy as a guide for digital design. By building my project in this way, I am making an argument that DH design practices ought to embody our pedagogical commitments, particularly to producing knowledge in forms that decenter authority and lead people to their own critical activities. VisVS is currently under construction; I would be grateful for implementation support from a Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant to make crucial improvements to the interactive functionality of the site in preparation for defending my dissertation in April 2020.