Signs Digital Humanities Fellow
C. Laura Lovin
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C. Laura Lovin
Goldstone, Andrew, Susana Galán, C. Laura Lovin, Andrew Mazzaschi, and Lindsey Whitmore. 2014. An Interactive Topic Model of Signs, edited by Andrew Goldstone. Signs at 40. http://signsat40.signsjournal.org/topic-model.
Browsing software by Andrew Goldstone, extending his dfr-browser. Modeling conducted via Goldstone's dfrtopics R package. For a full list of code used in constructing the topic model, see "Modeling Choices."
Catharine R. Stimpson
Jean Fox O'Barr
Suzanna Danuta Walters
Dana M. Britton
Cythia R. Daniels
Mary Hawkesworth. 2014. "Tracking Changes in Transformative Scholarship." Editorial commentary. Signs at 40. http://signsat40.signsjournal.org/commentaries/#hawkesworth.
C. Laura Lovin
Lindsey Whitmore, ed. 2014. "Cultural Production." Curated table of contents. Signs at 40. http://signsat40.signsjournal.org/tocs/#cult_prod.
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The University of Chicago Press is extremely excited to witness and support a new era of digital scholarship with Signs@40: Feminist Scholarship through Four Decades. The compilation is a visually appealing digital humanities work of art that beautifully yet cohesively maps article topics and authors, measuring impact in the field over the past forty years. The end result is an engaging and powerful testament to the scholarship that has shaped and transformed the women and gender studies landscape since the mid-1970s. A particularly useful feature is curated tables of contents—topic-based collections of Signs articles published in leading subject areas.
This striking achievement is not at all surprising given the high level of dedication and talent represented by the team at Rutgers. Over the past decade, Signs has flourished under the guidance and vision of Editor Mary Hawkesworth. Under her watch, the artfully crafted editorial website SignsJournal.org, developed and meticulously maintained by Deputy Editor Andrew Mazzaschi, has become a forum for scholarship that goes far beyond the published article. We are proud to showcase their hard work, a masterfully crafted icing on the cake of what has been an extraordinary era for Signs.
Jennifer Ringblom, Publisher
The University of Chicago Press
The impetus for this project was Mary Hawkesworth's desire to find a creative and engaging way to celebrate Signs' fortieth anniversary and to reflect on the enormous contributions Signs has made to feminist scholarship. As the project began to take shape, as it grew and became more complex, and as we ran into impasses and conundrums, she has remained incredibly supportive. She has been willing to think through the tough issues raised by analyzing such a large and complex archive; she has brought her immense knowledge of the field to analyzing and shaping this project; she has helped to recruit a bevy of intellectual heavyweights to contribute commentaries inspired by the project; and she has secured funding for research support and fellowships. I could not have asked for a more supportive and more generous guide through this process.
The chance to collaborate with generous and smart people from Rutgers and beyond has been one of the joys of this project. Andrew Goldstone, of Rutgers' Department of English, in particular, has been incredible. His facility as a teacher has made the learning curve inherent in this project navigable for me as well as for Susana Galán and Lindsey Whitmore—whether by explaining the ins and outs of topic modeling in an accessible but still-sophisticated way or by easing us in to the intimidating world of R, the command line, and git. His thoughtful and critical approach to the possibilities topic modeling offers and to its limitations convinced us that the abstraction of algorithms does not obviate, and in fact requires, the interpretive skill of human experts. And he has devoted an immense amount of time and labor to the project, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, tailoring and enhancing the software he has developed for his own work to fill the needs of our project and Signs readers.
Working with Susana Galán, Lindsey Whitmore, and C. Laura Lovin has been a delight. Susana and Lindsey, both PhD candidates in Rutgers' Women's and Gender Studies Department, brought incredible insight and enthusiasm to all aspects of this project. They brought their expertise to bear in examining and evaluating various topic models and brainstorming about different approaches to the overall project. Signs Acquisitions and Media Relations Manager and Women's and Gender Studies PhD C. Laura Lovin was similarly insightful, raising crucial and critical questions at all stages. Laura, Lindsey, and Susana pored through the Signs archives to find representative articles for the Tables of Contents, thinking creatively about how to configure lists that would maximize coverage in terms of discipline, subject area, geographical areas, theoretical perspectives, and other criteria, fine-tuning and readjusting with each iteration. And they somehow made not one but two hours-long topic-labeling conference calls into experiences that were simultaneously intellectually rigorous and a lot of fun. This is not to mention the design suggestions and coding help they offered, as well as the copyediting and link checking they undertook.
I am deeply grateful to all of those who wrote such rich commentaries for the website. As each came in, I was astounded anew at the insights, connections, and contextualizations they provided and by the suggestions of potential uses for the project, many of which had never occurred to me but, once suggested, came to seem obvious. The fact that so many great scholars—especially, I must say, former Editors of Signs, whose work produced the immense archive in which I have been so immersed and from which I have learned so much—took the time to seriously engage with the contents of this project and share their analyses is remarkable and adds infinitely to the intellectual resources the project offers.
Over the past months, Signs Managing Editor Miranda Outman has graciously tolerated my bursting into her office every so often to get her opinion on yet another layout or the implementation of yet another new feature. More importantly, she has ensured that Signs itself has continued to function as normal throughout the process of this site's development, while also taking on the task of applying her characteristically meticulous and thoughtful editing to the site itself and providing a commentary to boot, all during an intensive period when Signs' begins its transition to a new editorial home.
Dana Britton, the Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers, not only provided a commentary for the end result of this site but also offered important early training in content coding as well as important feedback on an earlier topic model. Kayo Denda, Director of the Margery Somers Foster Center and Women's Studies Librarian at Rutgers, has been a constructive interlocutor throughout the process. Without the previous work and sharing spirit of Jonathan Goodwin, Associate Professor of English at the University of Lafayette, the cocitation network graph would not exist. The University of Chicago Press's support has been unwavering-Journals Director Michael Magoulias intervened at a key moment and enabled this project to move forward; Publisher Jenny Ringblom has been, as always, wonderful to work with, and her recognition of the potential of this project was gratifying and necessary; and Marketing Manager Emily Murphy, another person with whom it is a pleasure to work, has invested great effort to showcase this project in its best light in many forums.
Finally, my partner, Lucas Gravely, has been immensely supportive, in ways too numerous to count, throughout this entire process. It could not have happened without him.