A Genealogy of Feminist Media Studies

by Fabiola Hanna

This work was commissioned for the Special Issue on Genealogies of Feminist Media Studies, edited by Miranda Banks, Ralina L. Joseph, Shelley Stamp & Michele White in Feminist Media Histories Journal.

For this genealogy of feminist media studies, we attempted to develop a visualization that illustrates ties between people, institutions, and fields of study central to our discipline. Each step of developing this genealogy—such as formulating survey questions, setting up the survey, collecting the data, “cleaning up” the data, choosing a metaphor, a technology, and a design for the visualization, and modifying the result—created different opportunities for different kinds of feminist interventions. The contribution here is in thinking of a genealogy as a set of relations among people, fields of study, and institutions, visually communicating how the data was collected and appropriating a flow diagram as a social network analysis.

The visualization is accompanied by a design statement.

The final design: Misusing a Sankey Flow Diagram

Final Design

Clicking on a node (whether a scholar, field of study or institution) takes you to its next closest nodes, revealing other relationships between these three categories.

Earlier Experiments

The Survey and Data Collection

We collected the data through a Google survey that yielded a tabulated data set. A total of 266 participants completed the survey online, submitting their names, the names of three mentors and five scholars who have influenced their work, the names of institutions where they received their PhD or highest degree and where they have taught, and three subfields that describe their work within feminist media studies. We also asked for the year they completed their degree, as we considered highlighting different generations of scholars, but eventually decided against it because there was already too much data to visualize.

Without counting duplicates, the data for the 266 participants included 536 mentors, 661 scholarly influences, 104 subfields, 123 institutions where respondents completed degrees, and 331 institutions where respondents taught at for at least two years.

Here's a link to the Google Survey that would allow a glimpse into the questions and responses.

If you are interested in the data and would like to have access to it, please contact the editor, Shelley Stamp.


Design and Development: Fabiola Hanna
Advisor: Shelley Stamp
Co-editors: Miranda Banks, Ralina L. Joseph, Shelley Stamp & Michele White
Journal: Feminist Media Histories, Genealogies of Feminist Media Studies Special Issue
Software: d3.js, Gephi, JavaScript GEXF Viewer for Gephi, Google Forms

Thanks to all the survey participants!