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Feminist in a Software Lab

Feminist in a Software Lab

Difference + Design

Tara McPherson

ISBN 9780674728943

Publication date: 02/19/2018

For over a dozen years, the Vectors Lab has experimented with digital scholarship through its online publication, Vectors, and through Scalar, a multimedia authoring platform. The history of this software lab intersects a much longer tale about computation in the humanities, as well as tensions about the role of theory in related projects.

Tara McPherson considers debates around the role of cultural theory within the digital humanities and addresses Gary Hall’s claim that the goals of critical theory and of quantitative or computational analysis may be irreconcilable (or at the very least require “far more time and care”). She then asks what it might mean to design—from conception—digital tools and applications that emerge from contextual concerns of cultural theory and, in particular, from a feminist concern for difference. This path leads back to the Vectors Lab and its ongoing efforts at the intersection of theory and praxis.

Praise

  • Tara McPherson’s digital work is a model of intelligent design in a crazed world; her projects are bold and innovative. This is a fascinating account of the emancipatory drive she invests into those projects and an even bolder look at the genealogy of computing from the 1960s. She seeks to link the abstract universe of software design with ongoing ideologies of race and gender, and suggests even the algorithm is not immune from its cultural context. A must-read in every way.

    —Daniel Herwitz, University of Michigan

Awards

  • 2018, Winner of the Garfinkel Prize in Digital Humanities

Author

  • Tara McPherson is Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Book Details

  • 280 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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