The Practice and Theory of Digital Prosopography: Collective Biographies of Women and the Biographical Elements and Structure Schema


ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships




By applying an XML markup schema (BESS), this project identifies elements of biography in order to extend Collective Biographies of Women, an open-access digital project at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at UVA. The analysis of versions of women's lives of different types, from assassin and adventuress to saint and scientist, in varieties of printed collections (British and American) reveals a morphology of a popular genre and develops a practice and theory of prosopography ("personae-writing") in modern contexts. The project will also apply narrative theory to nonfiction and experiments with large-scale, team interpretation of narrative, between big data and the up-close techniques of textual editing. As this database of collections of women's biographies, visualizations, and an interface for access to a documentary social networks of persons is perfected, the project will engender and promote new theories of nonfiction, prosopography, and the digital humanities.