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Julia Flanders

Director, Women Writers Project
Associate Director for Textbase Development, STG

Scholarly Technology Group
Brown University Box 1841
Providence, RI 02912-1841
phone: 401 863-2135
fax: 401 863-9313

curriculum vitae

Julia Flanders has worked at the Women Writers Project since 1992, starting as a proofreader, then in 1993 as Managing Editor for a series of books the WWP was publishing with Oxford University Press, and then until 2000 as Textbase Editor and Project Manager, working primarily on documentation, text acquisition, encoding research, and systems to manage the WWP's encoding work, and overseeing the project's general strategy and planning. More recently she has assumed the role of Director of the WWP, and is now also an Associate Director of STG.

Julia describes the relationship of text encoding to her research interests as an opportunity to think about the transformation of textual information into data. The implications of this activity--the resulting product, its uses and new cultural meaning--are at the center of her research interests.

She reports, "I am trying to understand what data really is, where the concept originated, and how it's been built into our thinking about disciplines and disciplinary boundaries. If we can think of text in a data-like way, perhaps we can also think of data in a text-like way, paying closer attention to the kinds of readings that emerge when we sample the data the text throws off, not scorning to treat these patterns as text in themselves. Though we might start out skeptical about the literary merit of such texts, we already understand their intellectual value--the instant (if simple) insight we get from a sorted word frequency list, or at a keyword-in-context index. If we now associate such views solely with our scholarly readings, rather than with our aesthetic encounters with the text, on what grounds do we make this distinction?"

Julia received an A.B. in English and American history and literature from Harvard University in 1987, writing her thesis on Robert Frost and pragmatism. After graduating she spent two years in England at St. John's College, Cambridge, and received a B.A. in English literature. She began graduate work at Brown University's Department of English, receiving an M.A. in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 2005. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled "Digital Humanities and the Politics of Scholarly Work". It focuses on the history of professional identity in textual studies, and the impact of this history on our understanding of digital textuality.

Julia is actively affiliated with the Modern Language Association, the Association for Computers and the Humanities, and the Text Encoding Initiative.

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