“A Retrospective ‘Me Too’?: The Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP)”
Can large-scale data analysis help map historical memories of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse? In studying the centuries before #MeToo, historians have little access to women’s personal narratives of sexual violence beyond legal cases, which represent only the small percent of assaults reported and prosecuted. What might the thousands of women’s oral history narratives conducted since the 1970s and digitized in the past decade reveal? OHTAP has collected approximately 1,000 digitized transcripts from many institutional collections. We are now developing methods to organize, analyze, and interpret these transcripts and the associated metadata. This heterogeneous dataset allows us to explore how women from diverse social groups and cohorts named and remembered sexual violence, the ways institutions responded to assault and harassment, and how patterns changed over time. Our larger goal is to establish methodologies for digital analysis of oral history interviews that can be applied widely by historians and other scholars.
The Project Team:
The Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History at Stanford University, Estelle Freedman co-founded the Stanford Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the author or editor of ten books, including No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (2002), Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (with John D’Emilio; 3d ed. 2012), and Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation (2013). She is currently a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
Natalie Marine-Street, a specialist in women’s history and the history of business and institutions, is an oral historian and manager of the Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program. The program documents the history of a major research university through interviews with faculty, staff, and alumni and serves as an oral history education and training resource to the university community. She received her PhD in history from Stanford in 2016.
Katie McDonough is the Academic Technology Specialist in History and a member with the Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research at the Stanford Library. She completed her PhD at Stanford in 2013 and is a historian of eighteenth-century France. Her digital work focuses on creating geographic information science methods for humanities data.
Hilary Sun is a first-year M.S. student in Computer Science concentrating in HCI. She graduated from Stanford in 2018 with a B.S. in Computer Science and minors in Statistics and History.