Thursday, March 21, 2013

Task One: Coherent Histories of Women's Suffrage

Christine and I thought we would take up the first task, devoted to comparing and contrasting the various histories presented through the timelines and databases listed on the prompt sheet (as well as finding a few of our own). In our preliminary investigations, we found a number of differences between the resources in terms of their organizing principles and options for filtering content. The timelines presented differed in terms of what events/texts they privileged, and in many ways were limited (most were highly focused on Eurocentric events surrounding the women's suffrage movement, while Wikipedia presented a more world-centric view of women's suffrage). The various search databases again operated in a few different ways. Project Gutenberg actually seemed to me to be a very useful tool for locating specific genres of writing related to women's suffrage. Their subject category search went beyond a single idea of women's suffrage and covered pieces occupying the realms of fiction, prose, and poetry. However, the default view for searches results in a search by popularity, indicating that it at least somewhat implicitly argues for the importance of texts that have been found useful by others.

It also had some variation on geographical location. Another broader source was Women and Social Movements in the U.S. 1600-2000 which focuses more broadly on social movements connected to women. Again, not focused primarily on women's suffrage, but interesting in that it looks at women's social movements from a more generalized perspective, not focussing (but including) suffrage. Due to some subscription issues, we couldn't readily access most of the features, but it seems like it would be a promising resource. Most of the timelines relating directly to women's suffrage ended at the implementation of the 19th amendment, acting as though that was the logical "end point." From here, we will expand our search to other resources beyond those listed to see what we might find. Just some of our preliminary thoughts so far!

- Bret & Christine

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