Editors' note on the August 2023 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities, a partner issue with the Recovery Hub for American Women Writers, edited by Jessica DeSpain
Roopika Risam and Jennifer Guiliano
Welcome to the August 2023 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities. We’re especially excited about this month’s issue because it’s our first partner issue. Among the experiments we’ve been undertaking at Reviews, we developed partnerships to republish review content from other projects and publications. Our partners agree to use our review process in their publication venues, and we create issues based on the reviews they provide us. Through the partnerships, we’re able to share the wonderful peer reviews our colleagues are doing with the Reviews community. Check out our partners through the “Partners” menu in the navigation bar.
This month’s issue comes from our partnership with the Recovery Hub for American Women Writers. We’ve long been fans of the important contributions that the Recovery Hub has made to feminist literary studies in the U.S. The shared values of Reviews and Recovery Hub made this an ideal first partnership for us. The projects in this issue emerge from their first project showcase, which peer reviews digital humanities projects on American women writers using the criteria that we developed at Reviews. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoy working with the Recovery Hub!
If you have a project or a journal that reviews digital humanities projects, let’s talk! We’d love to explore the opportunity to share your work with the Reviews community. Drop us a note at [email protected]!
Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Contact the editors, Jennifer Guiliano and Roopika Risam, by email or through the Twitter, Bluesky, and Mastodon hashtags #ReviewsInDH.
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This collection of reviews marks the first set of project showcases from the Recovery Hub for American Women Writers. The Recovery Hub is a multi-institutional infrastructure for scholars using digital humanities tools and methodologies to recover the neglected works of American women writers. We foster collaboration, mentorship, and community-building among women working in the digital humanities while seeking feminist and decolonial approaches to the creation, curation, design, sharing, and archiving of digital content. The network of scholars involved in the Recovery Hub approaches the intersecting relationships between feminist practice, content, and technical specifications with an awareness of the ways that the design and implementation of technology can exclude and objectify people.
To make digital projects legible as scholarship and advance their discoverability, we also publish peer reviewed project showcases twice a year. Showcases, which are a collaboration between project teams and external reviewers, serve as project tours and include curated teaching resources. In our open, feminist model, reviewers offer advanced feedback to project teams and the opportunity to revise based on advice or suggestions. Our ongoing partnership with Reviews in Digital Humanities allows our showcases to be cross-published here so they reach a broader audience.
Practicing anti-racist models of reparative justice, we aim for at least 50% of peer reviewed projects to recover Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQI+ stories, texts, experiences, and voices. The four projects included in this first selection of showcases align with the Recovery Hub’s commitment to cultivating a community that is inclusive in terms of who is involved in project creation as well as the content projects represent.
The Gloria Naylor Archive, a project underway at Lehigh University, promotes the work of Gloria Naylor, whose novels, including The Women of Brewster Place (1982), are a hallmark of the emergence of several transformational Black literary women writers in the 1970s and 1980s. The project models the goals of inclusivity and citation central to the Recovery Hub’s feminist practices by using Naylor’s work as a central node in a Black feminist network that includes links to other projects on Black women writers. The Gloria Naylor Archive is reviewed by Jina DuVernay and Seretha Williams.
Deanna Stover’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” Digital Edition, “made, in part, by students and for students,” is an exploration of variants of the often-taught short story. The Recovery Hub has emphasized the importance of feminist pedagogies for the work of sustaining recovery projects for the long term. Putting both recovered texts and the work of recovery into the classroom is an act of critical reclamation. Stover and her students have carefully considered issues of scholarly labor and attribution in their editorial statement about student work. “The Yellow Wall-Paper” Digital Edition is reviewed by Nicole Gray and Jana Tigchelaar.
The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Collection at the Electronic Literature Organization’s The NEXT emphasizes the importance of digital preservation. As one of the leading innovators in born-digital literature even prior to widespread internet usage, Luesebrink often experimented with a variety of technologies, many of which are no longer supported or accessible to users. Dene Grigar’s work to preserve and contextualize the works of Luesebrink and her contemporaries aligns with the Recovery Hub’s mission to explode traditional definitions of authorship, text, and canonicity. The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Collection is reviewed by Kristen Lillvis and Melinda White.
The Winnifred Eaton Archive (WEA), directed by Mary Chapman (University of British Columbia), recovers the work of Asian North American novelist Winnifred Eaton, who had a long and varied career and used myriad pseudonyms. Early in her career, Eaton masqueraded as Japanese, writing romance novels using the pseudonym Onoto Watanna. She also used racial slurs in her writing sometimes as a form of satire, sometimes with ambivalence, but at other points with harmful intentions. The WEA works to create a balanced approach to this complicated author, acknowledging her contributions to women’s writing while also considering how to represent her use of racist language ethically in their encoded texts and supporting statements, modeling anti-racist digital humanities practices. The WEA is reviewed by Heather Ball and Elizabeth James.
These projects represent methods of recovery aligned with what Brigitte Fielder describes in American Periodicals “as a larger project of archival reparation that accurately represents the historical relations of power and upends them through more rigorous attention to our body of texts” (20). We at the Recovery Hub for American Women Writers look forward to sharing additional projects with you in coming issues that take feminist approaches to digital humanities in their content, their ethical considerations, and their technological design.
Fielder, Brigitte. “Recovery,” American Periodicals, vol. 30, no. 1, 2020, pp. 18-21.