Roundtable – From Theory To Operationalization

Can there be such a thing as “feminist text analysis”?

What is the theoretical purview of feminist text analysis? I find it hard to put frames around a field of humanistic inquiry which by virtue of its disobedient nature is unframeable. Feminist text analysis, much like feminism is a transient and iterative materialization of feminist thought through which the humanities critically investigates the hegemonic standpoints of knowledge in contrast to non-hegemonic standpoints. Although we cannot articulate a specific definition of feminist text analysis, we can identify certain dependable theoretical spaces that it occupies in humanities discourse. Feminist text analysis is an ‘interpretively open’ space. it is a space to critically engage narrow frameworks of ‘white male universality’ as the standard of human experience. It is a space that recognizes processes of knowledge creation equally as processes of knowledge curation in which data is not objective but situationally bound to hegemonic narratives – in which behind all macro-digital infrastructures are algorithmic black boxes which hold the views and biases of the people who built them. Feminist text analysis is also a space of positive representational revisionism. it is a space that engages with the tangents of human intersections and the plurality of human experiences as one humanity. It investigates the blind spots of traditional frameworks in which the representation of women, people of color, and outlier data is often eclipsed by the desire for narrative continuity and empirical analysis. feminist text analysis does not shave or flatten data to fit into boxes of conformity but looks at data fully in the round. It does not simply reduce it to alpha-numeric and graphical primitives but visceralizes .

However, I don’t know if there can be feminist text analysis outside of the theoretical realm.

The question is if we can’t escape our own biases as humanists and we can’t pry open those algorithmic black boxes unless we build our own analytic systems from scratch, how can we truly achieve feminist text analysis? we can theorize ad nauseum but how will we operationalize our feminist text analysis when we cannot control for our unknowns?

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