“Feminist Data Visualization: Rethinking the Archive, Reshaping the Field”
Lauren Klein, Georgia Tech
November 4, 3:00-4:00 pm
90 Snell Library

Join NULab in welcoming Dr. Lauren Klein to Northeastern on Wednesday, November 4 at 3:00 pm. She will give a talk entitled “Feminist Data Visualization: Rethinking the Archive, Reshaping the Field.” Light refreshments will be served.

Data visualization is not a recent innovation. Even in the nineteenth century, economists and educators, as well as artists and illustrators, were fully aware of the inherent subjectivity of visual perception, the culturally-situated position of the viewer, and the power of images in general—and of visualization in particular—to convey arguments and ideas. In this talk, I examine the history of data visualization in relation to feminist theory, which has also long attended to the subjective nature of knowledge and its transmission. Exploring the visualization work of three female educators from the nineteenth century United States, Emma Hart Willard, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, and Elizabeth Peabody, I show how we might recover these women’s contributions to the development of modern data visualization techniques. I contend, moreover, that by conceiving of data visualization as a feminist method, we might better understand its function—in the nineteenth century as today—as a way to present concepts, advance arguments and perform critique.

Lauren Klein is an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, where she also directs the Digital Humanities Lab. Her writing has appeared in American LiteratureEarly American Literature, and American Quarterly. In addition, she serves as co-PI on the NEH Office of Digital Humanities-funded TOME project, a tool to support the interactive exploration of text-based archives. With Matthew K. Gold, she edits Debates in the Digital Humanities, a hybrid print/digital publication stream from the University of Minnesota Press. She is at work on two book projects: the first on the relation between eating and aesthetics in the early American archive, and the second that provides a cultural history of data visualization from the eighteenth century to the present day.