Blog Post

Moravec Introduction for Feminist Digital Writing Group #FSDW13


About Me

My name is Michelle Moravec, and I am an associate professor of history and women’s and gender studies at Rosemont College in Philadelphia.   I study feminism, culture, and the intersction of both with social activism.

I received my Ph.D. from UCLA in women’s history. I dove head first into digital history during my sabbatical in 2011-2012 and have become most interested in corpus analytics.  I “write in public” which means I use google docs to make public the process of academic writing from start to finish.

What I'd like to Get Out of the Workshop

I have a manuscript I worked on during sabbatical that didn’t fit into my current book project.  I’ve been sitting on it for over a year and I need a push to get it out the door.  I suffer from the “never good enough” syndrome.


Previous Experiences

My dissertation writing group taught me the benefit of working with peers.  Over the years I’ve participated in a number of online and in person writing groups.  I have a broad background in the humanities and much of my work is interdisciplinary, so I think of myself as the informed but not expert reader.

My Contact Information

@professmoravec,,, professmoravec @ gmail.



Hi Dr. Moravec,

Welcome to the workshop!  

I find the idea of public writing attractive, yet scary.  What made you decide to use this drafting method?


My original work was on 1970s feminist artists who believed that way to bridge the public private divide was to do as much stuff in public as possible.  It is also part of my effort to demystify academic writing and take away from this notion that we all produce seamless beautiful prose.    more explanation here if you are interested

I always point out that I'm tenured so this is not (as) risky for me as it is for others.  I also have a very low key career of my own making, so I worry very little about "reputation" etc, which I realize is a luxury that others may not have.  


Hi Dr. Moravec,

I like this theory; it makes a lot of sense, especially for folks working in feminist studies. One of the things I'm working on now is creating a public website for my dissertation.  I want the online community I work with to be able to see and respond to my work.  I also make it a point to seek out open-access journals as I think it's important for scholarship (whether it's feminist or otherwise) to be publicly accessible and free.


Lori Beth 


call me michelle :)  


response/input is an interesting aspect of this work.  I have many years of "sharing" my work with the subjects about whom I write, and it raises many many issues when they demur from my interpretations.  The comment function is far less utilized than you'd think.  About 10% of readers comment!


Hi Michelle,

I've heard from other researchers that it's surprising how few people within a studied community comment on a researcher's work.  I wonder how many people, though, take the time to review the work, but don't comment on it?  That might be a higher percentage.  

Lori Beth 


why people don't comment or respond I think.  Lots of people are initmidated by academic writing, no matter how accessible one tries to make it.  Other people find the experience of reading about themselves dificult (which I can totally grasp, what must it be like to have me turn your life into "history').  Still others are too emotionally invested in the events to relive via reading!


Using bitly of course you can see how many hits a link gets, and blog stats will help you to track readers to a certain extent, but more or less I've given up really worry about it.  For example present part of my book MS I'm "writing in public" has had 45 clicks from bitly, not one comment.  Lots of RT on twitter which I suppose is one metric of endorsement!

There is a back and forth on my blog about how to solicit more feedback from the public or your community that you might find helpful


Hi Michelle,

Oh...this blog post looks great. I especially like how you situate the notion of public writing within feminist discourse.

If you don't mind, would you consider sharing this blog post (or your blog) on the FSDW resources and materials Google doc?  This way folks such as myself can easily access it after the workshop is over.


Lori Beth