Literary Histories and Technologies
In 2006, the University of Alberta launched the Orlando Project, an online database created at the U of A in collaboration with the University of Guelph and published by Cambridge University Press. The database is a comprehensive compilation of information about the lives and writing careers of about 1,000 women writers. It also includes material about the times in which they lived. This project began in 1995 and was led by Drs Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy of the University of Alberta, in collaboration with Dr Susan Brown of the University of Guelph.
Most researchers in the English Department are engaged on projects in literary and cultural history. These encompass a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. One major area of research is women's writing. This is at the core of the Canada Research Chair awarded to Gary Kelly to pursue research on the relationship between revolution and romanticism in the formation of the modern state.
Located in the CRC Humanities Computing Studio, the Program for Study of Women Writing and Reading is supported by resources provided by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the University of Alberta.
The 16-volume series, The History of Women Writing in English, from the University of Toronto Press, places women's cultural work in social and historical contexts. The series attends to the material realities facing women writing in all historical periods in the British Isles, the Americas, Australia, Oceania, Asia, and Africa. The series offers careful and fresh readings of major as well as minor authors. Through chronologies, bibliographies, and volume-specific websites, the series provides supporting materials for historical-critical study of individual books and authors, as well as historical movements. It integrates social, historical, and cultural research. It is designed for students, teachers, and scholars, in literary and cultural studies, education, social history, and librarianship.
Women's writing is the focus of the Orlando Project, an international undertaking involving scholars from four countries. Funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Major Collaborative Research Initiatives program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the project is producing the first full scholarly history of women's writing in the British Isles. This is in the form of four individually volumes of history and a collaboratively written, deeply tagged electronic textbase.
Faculty members are actively engaged in exploring new technologies for literary research. Technologies they have developed have created structures for writing, encoding, and working with basic research material.
The researchers have received national and international recognition and they collaborate with scholars around the world. They lead national and international professional bodies, serve as editors on major publishing projects, edit research journals, advise and assess for academic publishers, and participate by invitation in international conferences.