I'm writing to share an event and some links related to The Female Biography Project
, an international, multilingual, collaborative digitally-supported endeavor with which I've been involved since 2011.
In 1803 London, the radical historian and novelist Mary Hays published The Female Biography: Or memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women, of all Ages and Countries, an encyclopedia of female historical figures. Hays brought many of these women out of the shadows of their male costars in history, or total obscurity, and demonstrated the necessity of understanding their actions as part of great events in European HIstory such as the English Civil War and the French Revolution. Some of these women were antiheroes, but none, in her telling, are mere heroines.
Today, Prof. Gina Luria Walker (The New School, New York) and a team of sub-editors, researchers, and annotators are making this work newly accessible by annotating the 300+ entries from modern scholarship, for Pickering and Chatto. This print volume could not have been produced without modern IT. To demonstrate why, let me share how I got involved as an annotator. I was invited by a scholar I admire, Prof. Imke Heuer, of York University in England, who studies British and German Romanticism. An editor to whom she then referred me is an Australian. She edited my entries on French historical figures from the Early Modern era.
Meanwhile, the online supplement Project Continua invites researchers, teachers, students and the public to discuss Hays's biographies and to continue filling in her interface with new data, about heroes who postdate or were for other reasons left out of Hays's text. For example, she tends to neglect non-European women, and non-European history in general. Please help fill that in? Who is your female hero? Let the world know.
Thanks for reading this far. I hope to get a conversation started. And if you'd like to know more about the FBP or Project Continua, feel free to ask.
(PS admin: tentative plans exist for Prof. Luria Walker to discuss this project in the Research Triangle area. Any hope of connecting that to HASTAC?)