The Women’s Disability Timeline, a scholarly website and interactive timeline for a non-academic audience, is a new media project created for Dr. Charlotte Hogg’s Fall 2017 Women’s Rhetoric course. This project draws together the methodologies of feminist historiography, digital humanities, and disability studies to showcase the activism by disabled women for disabled women. The timeline features sixteen entries—including Deaf-advocate Agatha Tiegel Hanson (1873-1959), disability rights pioneer Judith Heumann (1947-Present), performance artist Cheryl Marie Wade (1948-2013), among others—with short biographies, brief analyses of primary texts, and links for further reading.
The website includes three major parts. First, an introduction of disability and disability activism in the United States and explanation of the parameters of the timeline. Second, the timeline that focuses on activism by and for women with disabilities. And, finally, an explanation of my methodology for a non-academic audience as well as my personal inspiration for the work. Because I wanted to provide a source for disability activists, the site was designed to be accessible in terms of content, but also for screen reading devices. I created a single-page parallax website, that would streamline information for readers and screen reading devices. This also dictates the way readers consume the information. As the summary of the parts indicates, there are many of the same components in a scholarly essay, but they are reorganized and rephrased for a public audience. The single-page website allowed me to recreate some of the conventions of text-based academic writing.
For the timeline itself, I used an open-source online software called Timeline JS, which I heard about in a course on digital public humanities at DHSI. In terms of sources, I used foundational texts in disability history and activism as well as sources produced by disability activists. All links and images are from publicly accessible sources and every effort was made to use content produced by disability rights organizations.