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Giving Account

Published onApr 01, 2020
Giving Account

It is not possible to offer a full accounting of the many kindnesses and labors that have made this book a reality. Nevertheless, the act of remembering and thanking others is crucial to dispelling the pernicious myth of the solitary scholar, and it is a joy to be able to thank the many people who have been integral to this work.

Institutions provide both infrastructure and opportunity to do scholarly work, and I am grateful to Arizona State University (ASU) and its Department of English for supporting transdisciplinary work with resources, a junior leave, and a wonderful community of colleagues. Special thanks is due to Lorinda Liggins, Kristin Rondeau-Guardiola, and Kristen LaRue for the work that they have each done to make sure that my individual and collaborative work is possible. On arrival at ASU, I left behind a more disciplinary project in order to pursue something more complex. I am deeply appreciative of the intellectual and professional openness that extends from the top of ASU through to the opportunities of junior faculty, making leaps such as this possible. Individual faculty and staff have been important as colleagues, friends, and intellectual community as well, including Cora Fox, Brad Ryner, Heather Maring, Chris Jones, Lindsey Plait-Jones, Elizabeth Grumbach, Ersula Ore, Matt Garcia, Desiree Garcia, Ed Finn, Michael Simeone, Devoney Looser, George Justice, and Marlene Tromp.

While at ASU I’ve been fortunate to be a fellow of both the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics and Global Security Initiative (GSI). GSI in particular has offered collaborators and I the support to make, talk, think, and explore together in ways that have fundamentally transformed my work. More important, perhaps, has been the community of absolutely amazing women within GSI. Jamie Winterton, Nadya Bliss, Gloria Espinosa, Diana Augirre-Rosales, Kristina Nelson, Aimee Hill, and Heather Ross in particular have made coming to work every day a joy. Collaborative work with Jessica Rajko, Marisa Duarte, Patricia Garcia, Marika Cifor, and Heather Ross has given me both joy and a set of methods with which to think and make.

The University of Iowa was my first institutional home as an undergraduate, and Iowa City will always be a kind of home for me too. I benefited enormously from the generous intellects and powerful mentorship of Huston Diehl, Priya Kumar, and Linda Bolton. I was similarly fortunate to learn from Stephen Foley, Jean Feerick, Nancy Armstrong, William Keach, and Robert Scholes at Brown University. Julia Flanders, Karen Newman, and Tara Nummedal in particular each supported me as I worked to find ways to bridge disciplinary and temporal boundaries. None of them found my interest in numbers and words too strange, and for that I am forever grateful. Tara is due additional thanks for unflagging mentorship and support that has extended well beyond professional advice. I had the enormous pleasure of participating in a seminar with David Scott Kastan at the Folger Shakespeare Library while a graduate student, and he has continued to offer support and advice in the years since.

Primary document and material culture research such as went into this book cannot happen without either brick-and-mortar archives or digital archives, or both. I have been fortunate to be able to access the collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Huntington Library, and Wellcome Library. More important than the collections themselves is the labor and expertise of their staff, for which I am eternally thankful. Additionally, I’ve been able to access digital resources from a wide variety of sources, including Early English Books Online, Hathi Trust, and the Proquest Historical Black Newspapers collection. Having worked behind the scenes at the Women Writers Project, I know well the extensive work that goes into making digital resources effective and discoverable, and I appreciate the staff who have done that work.

Communities that extend beyond the confines of institutions and geographic location are the lifeblood of feminist work. Alexandra Juhasz invited me into the transformational network known as FemTechNet, and I still marvel at that piece of good fortune. That community has sustained and shaped me in profound ways that are reflected in this book. I am especially grateful to Tara McPherson, Wendy Chun, and Lisa Nakamura, each of whom spent time talking with me about new research directions, including the one represented in this book. Without Wendy and Lisa, I’m not sure that I would have jumped directly to writing this specific book, and I’m glad that I did. Others in my extended network who are owed thanks for intellectual challenges, friendship, and laughter include Laura Wexler, Moya Bailey, Jessica M. Johnson, Karl Surkan, T. L. Cowan, Alexandrina Agloro, Sharon Irish, Ann Wu, Amanda Phillips, Veronica Paredes, Angel Nieves, Lauren Klein, Jentery Sayers, Alex Gil, Roopika Risam, Elika Ortega, Padmini Ray-Murray, and Aimee Morrison.

Parts of this book were presented in talks at the University of Indiana, Digital Frontiers, the University of Texas at Dallas, Dartmouth College, and the University of Michigan. I am grateful to Ellen MacKay, Spencer Keralis, Aden Evens, and Jentery Sayers for extending those invites as well as the audiences for their engagement and feedback.

Lori Emerson, Ellen MacKay, Chris Jones, Jentery Sayers, Kari Kraus, Karl Surkan, Liz Grumbach, Nikki Stevens, and the anonymous press reviewers all offered invaluable feedback on parts or all of this book, which in turn is better for their care and engagement. Leah Newsom took beautiful photos of step-tracking devices in my collection. To Marisa Nicosia and Laila Shereen Sakr, who are partners in writing accountability—I met this deadline!

Elizabeth Losh and Celia Pearce have been fantastic series editors; I wish for all junior scholars to have such wonderful mentors in the publication process. Doug Sery took up this project with gusto, and the amazing team of professionals at the MIT Press, including Noah Springer, Deborah Cantor-Adams, among others, has been a joy to work with. The pleasures of this publishing experience are in large part due to their advice and careful stewardship of the project. Liz Losh has been more than an editor; we have coauthored, collaborated, and commiserated in innumerable ways, and in addition to her friendship I am grateful for her brilliant mind, leadership, and care.

My parents, Mel Wernimont and Nancy Wernimont, long fostered in me an abundant sense of curiosity, generosity, and no small dose of independence. They along with my siblings, Nicole Wernimont-Madou and Zachary Wernimont were the first to encourage me to play in any and every sandbox I saw.

Finally, Matt Delmont proactively made the space within our family for this book to become a reality; he took on the “default parent” role to help ensure this book came through. It was perhaps his most feminist intervention yet.

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