My MA Project

Wow, my research has changed a lot in the last 6 months! I will be updating this website as I go, but am excited to be moving in the direction of Digital Humanities, queer curation, and public access scholarship.

Abstract

My project is concerned with using digital technologies to take control of information interfaces from the past to further queer identity building in the present. From the 13th century, I will explore the French manuscript WLC.LM.6, Roman de Silence. The images of fluid gendered bodies, lesbianism, moral judgment, and social hierarchy in this codex can disrupt societal norms in playful and pleasurable ways. Firstly, I will locate the miniatures within the materiality of the manuscript and address their rhetorical function as elements of a historical condemnatory narrative. Secondly, I will explore the possibilities for remediating these condemnatory illuminations for contemporary queer audiences using the website “Queer Art History.” Queer Art History, a growing archive and accessible community resource for queer creatives, was created by Casey Hoke in 2017.
I will analyze both interfaces – one traditionally located in manuscript studies, the other a digital platform – using the tools of Digital Humanities, intersectional material feminism, and queer theory. The medieval codex was one of the earliest information interfaces. Its design continues to inform our contemporary visual systems of knowledge production and visual rhetoric. Hoke’s website is a contemporary interface rhetorically designed to encourage people to locate themselves within queer visual culture and find pleasure in the queer archive. Digital interfaces offer opportunities to recontextualize art historical works. They allow for creating collections of otherwise fragmented, frequently erased premodern queer art histories. They can also remediate these works to serve the contemporary construction of queer identities based in collective memories.

Research Questions

  1. What does it mean for art historical practice to digitally archive the medieval codex in the creation of queer art histories?
  2. Given the moralizing tone of the medieval manuscript, which condemns lesbian desire, how can it be re-inscribed through interpretive data visualization?
  3. What does it mean to build a digital interface, as Casey Hoke did, for the celebration of queer identities? 
  4. How could the idea of the sensorium be developed in my research to explain the pleasure in reading and composing traces of lesbian experience in medieval and modern histories?
  5. How can one apply the tools of Digital Humanities to build pleasurable moments of ‘intra action’ for readers and viewers?