Critical Making, Gender, and Textual Analysis Beginning a Major Project

1. Abstract

In this lightning talk, I will present images from a works-in-progress, specifically embroidered canvases that remediate information visualizations produced in the statistical program R. The information visualizations are based in a corpus of Early Modern text, namely works produced by the Sidney family (active 1580-1650). Two women in this family group, Mary Wroth and Mary Pembroke, were extraordinarily prolific and public writers in their historical and social contexts. I have already performed hierarchical cluster analysis on their texts in order to determine the intertextual relationship between the authors, and have embroidered several canvases that remediate the abstract computational product (the digital dendrogram) into a physical form (the embroidered object).[1]

This lightning talk presents the seeds of a project that integrates academic critical making, feminized crafting, and statistical textual analysis. Following Marie Hicks, Safiya Noble, Jacque Wernimont, and Marisa Parham, my working argument is that the embroidered canvases reveal that statistical natural language processing (traditionally associated with masculinized rationality) can be reframed as an explicitly feminist incursion into the larger digital humanities landscape.

I am interested in feedback from scholars and practitioners who work across multiple media forms, especially those with experience or interest in transitioning from traditional monographs toward more embodied and haptic forms of scholarship.

[1] For the original context of the dendrograms, see Amanda Henrichs, “Allusions in the Age of the Digital,” Women Writers in Context

Amanda Henrichs (, Amherst College, United States of America

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