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Roundtable Abstract: Kaleidoscope?



A key component of my feminism is negotiation of universals and particulars, from multiple stances. I see the stances as reducible to two categories: experiencer and observer of/interactor with others. To the extent that computational text analysis opens up new ways of seeing oneself and others, I see it as potentially feminism-compatible.
We’ve learned that computational analysis is not neutral–in all phases, from the formulation of research questions, through data selection and preparation, conceptualization, operationalization, and analysis, human researchers bring preconceptions into the process. A feminist text analysis involves self-awareness, transparency, and responsibility for recognizing, naming, and if possible, correcting for, biases.
As such, I think it’s not only possible but imperative. In our algorithmic digital world, when computational analysis is used so pervasively in ways that re-inscribe and reinforce harmful stereotypes, it’s crucial to understand the emergent methods and to incorporate egalitarian concerns and values into research that uses these methods, and into critical responses.
I wonder also if (feminist) text analysis could be a stimulus to alternative viewing, a kaleidoscope-like supplement to close reading, rather than a telescope. DuBois’s chapter openings in The Souls of Black Folk are one of my favorite examples of showing differently:


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