Creating and Preserving Women’s Intellectual History for the 21st Century
Gina Luria Walker, Director of Project Continua and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, and Claire Potter, Professor of History, at Writing and Righting History, on the project’s efforts to restore women in history at The New School. Edit-A-Thon is produced by the Digital Humanities Initiative/Project Continua.
Directed by Rachel Caccese. Produced by Forefront Pictures.
At this moment in history, we are the beneficiaries of 50 years of feminist empirical research which has provided us with more information than we ever imagined about many more historical women. With the help of technology, now is the time to enable widespread access to this critical mass of data.
Project Continua is a web-based multimedia resource dedicated to the creation and preservation of women’s intellectual history from the earliest surviving evidence into the 21st Century. It is accessible and contributable by everyone. The core of Project Continua is the “female biography” archive, searchable content containing individual entries for each woman, including up-to-date scholarship on their life trajectories, their work, and the new knowledge they produced. Project Continua will also act as a virtual laboratory in which students can connect and collaborate with scholars, experiment with ideas, share research, and initiate new scholarship about historically significant women. It will provide us with the foundation needed to create research tools and content for curricular development K-12 and beyond.
Cutting-edge digital technology will allow the preservation and sharing of a wide range of documents, images, and diverse multimedia resources that will enhance inquiry into women’s intellectual history. Authoritative monitoring, assessment, and collaboration with scholars from around the globe will ensure the integrity of new findings. The site will include alternative timelines tracking the emergence of individual women and female communities; webcasts; maps representing times, places, and contexts for each woman; a women’s quotations database; and links to other available web archives.
Project Continua will be an evolving authoritative center where visitors can collect the latest research and scholarship from the academic participants, choose from a selection of data, questions, information, learned essays, and informal opinion pieces, allowing contributors to generate original knowledge for their use. Social media tools will promote discourse that is arranged and conducted to encourage participation. This interactivity will be the catalyst for creating events, innovations, reference points, and attracting new viewers.
The Project Continua website, archive, and collaborative space will offer the potential for extensive dialogue and further our knowledge into the impact of this alternative narrative of the past. Our goal is to ensure that, for example, neither Laura Bassi, 18th century Professor of Experimental Physics at Bologna University, nor Hertha Ayrton, 20th century independent physicist, be excluded from the study of Enlightenment,, and women and science.
Background – Project Continua is an initiative of the Female Biography Project, the enthusiastic collaborative community assembled by Gina Luria Walker, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, New School University, to produce the Chawton House Library Edition of Mary Hays’s groundbreaking Female Biography; or, memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women from All Ages and Countries (1803), published by Pickering & Chatto (2013, 2014). At present, there are 164 scholars and student researchers, representing 116 institutions in eighteen countries and four continents, burnishing the “female biographies” of the 300 iconoclastic women Hays included.
The passionate outpouring of new information about these women, and others that Hays did not know to include, persuades that this is the moment to create a permanent, virtual athenaeum where women who have been lost and found and lost and found again with great effort, will live for the Twenty-first Century.
Project Continua Team
Gina Luria Walker – Director – Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at New School University, New York
Penelope Whitworth – Strategic Development
Emily Quartarone – Program Administrator
Linda Xue – Digital Applications Director and Design Strategist
Caroline Powell – Creative Director and Design Strategist
Evdoxia Ragkou – Research Director
Mary Spongberg – History Editor -Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
Magdalen Livesey – Editor
Kaitlin Sansoucie – Social Media Manager
Julieta Almeida Rodrigues – Consultant for Iberia and Latin America
Hannah Ashkinaze – Research Associate
Gina Soutendijk – Intern
Troy O’Neill – Intern