TEI 2017 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada November 11 - 15

XML Tues Nov 14, 09:00–10:30

Inside Digital Dinah Craik: Feminist pedagogy, ethical collaboration, and the TEI (paper)

Karen Bourrier* Karen Bourrier is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Calgary. Her research interests include Victorian literature and culture, disability studies, the digital humanities, and women’s writing. Her book, The Measure of Manliness: Disability and Masculinity in mid-Victorian Fiction, appeared with the University of Michigan Press (2015). Bourrier’s articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Victorian Literature and Culture and Victorian Studies. She is project director of a digital resource peer-reviewed by NINES, Nineteenth-Century Disability: Cultures and Contexts. She is currently at work on a biography of Dinah Mulock Craik as well as a TEI edition of her correspondence. and Kailey Fukushima* Kailey Fukushima is an alumna of the University of Calgary where she earned an Honours BA in English. Her research interests include Victorian popular literature and culture, food studies, and the digital humanities. Kailey is the project manager of Digital Dinah Craik—a TEI edition of Dinah Craik’s correspondence—and has worked as a research assistant on this project since May 2015. Kailey has also worked as a Digitization Assistant and as a Special Collections student assistant for the University of Calgary Libraries. She is beginning her MA at the University of Victoria in September 2017.

1In this essay, we describe our collaborative work as students and teachers in the Digital Dinah Craik project, a TEI edition of the correspondence of the popular Victorian novelist. While some feminist scholars of the digital humanities find projects based in “humanities computing, the print canon, and text-encoding initiatives” to be part of a conservative tradition (Losh et al., 2016: para. 3), we find that the TEI offers a robust and flexible vocabulary that has allowed us to take on the recovery of a nineteenth-century woman writer and her contemporaries using a specifically feminist pedagogy. Beyond recovery, TEI markup enables us to ask feminist questions of our dataset—questions pertaining to women’s labour, compensation, and social networking. Inside Digital Dinah Craik our pedagogy is collaborative and inclusive, attentive to the material conditions of both the text and our labour, and is reproducible. Furthermore, our teaching falls inline with Anne Balsamo’s ethical principles or “feminist virtues” of multidisciplinary collaboration (Balsamo, 2011: p. 162–3, Losh et al., 2016: para. 26). We work closely with new project members, with an eye towards fostering “confidence,” “humility,” “flexibility,” and “integrity,” and always with an ethos of “intellectual generosity” (Balsamo, 2011: p. 163).
2Drawing on recent works in feminist text encoding and digital humanities pedagogy, this essay details how these key principles of our pedagogy inform our praxis. Our research team has developed TEI-letter and prosopography templates, a live project codebook, and a practice of working collaboratively in a weekly lab. The clarity of the standards we have developed together, far from rendering our work conservative, contributes to our ability to have students take on leadership roles as they develop new templates, contribute to our encoding practices, and train new project members in TEI and paleography. In sum, we find that our pedagogy and praxis in fact echoes what feminist scholars of the digital humanities have called “the situated, material, embodied, affective, and labor-intensive character of engagements with computational media” (Losh et al., 2016: para. 4).


  • Balsamo, Anne. 2011. “Designing Learning: The University as a Site of Technocultural Innovation,” Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work, 113–183 Durham NC: Duke University Press.
  • Losh, Elizabeth, Jacqueline Wernimont, Laura Wexler, and Hong-An Wu. 2016. “Putting the Human Back into the Digital Humanities: Feminism, Generosity, and Mess,” Debates in the Digital Humanities, 92–103. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/2.