My Fair Lady… Pt. 3

I have already talked a little bit about my Omeka site My Fair Lady and the parts I have already developed. So as I have been introduced to new ideas and reading during this course, I’ve realized I have wanted to work more closely with the speeches I highlighted in My Fair Lady. Thats when I decided to work with Voyant to highlight the more analytical side of text I have been working with. And in the teaching sense, we can view the texts in a different format that solely reading them. So far I have had the plain text files available from a few of the speeches I already have housed on the website. However, since then I have discovered that I have access to the plain text file of the entirety of the book published with all the speeches. I plan to use this data to plug into Voyant so that I might model how the tool can be used but also how it affects how we view the speeches. There are hundreds of speeches from the Congress of Representative Women that occurred during the fair so I hope to gleam what majority of the women were talking about or maybe what they weren’t. The only challenge so far has been determining whether I want to highlight only the speeches already within my site or go beyond and use the entirety of the plain texts available. I think as I go on, and interact with my data source within Voyant, it’ll become more clear how I can shape this into a project that interacts well with students.


This is an example of one of the speeches I plan to include with this project. It is a speech given by Mrs. A.J. Cooper that discusses the oppression of African American women. Cooper was one of the 6 African American women that had given speeches at the fair. I think it would be important to highlight that these women were given a platform to speak on matters that were important to them during a period that was unwelcoming of African Americans. This also extended to women as well, which is another significant point of the Congress of Representative Women. By using Voyant in this instance we can extract the most common words used within the speech, the correlation between words, we can see what phrases are repeated throughout, there’s also a way to see a words usage as it spans across other bodies of text that are plugged in. Those are just a few examples there are many more. However, through the examples I have given, I hope that students can deconstruct these speeches in order to think about them comparatively in a larger body. That is can allow them to place what these women were talking about within the time period in which they lived. A project like this becomes powerful in understanding the history of women’s rights and can helps us draw connections to our own stories today. My Fair Lady is still a work in progress, but I hope that students will be able to gain skills in textual analysis tools that helps to better understand my own corpus but also help them in future projects.

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