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Dr. Jesper Verhoef

Utrecht University (UU), The Netherlands

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MADUQUWES: Mapping the Dutch queer web sphere

The World Wide Web has been so important to LGBT+ people, that to understand queer life, one has to understand queer digital culture. To date, however, research into LGBT+ websites fails to do this culture justice. This is problematic, for it sustains queer invisibility in historical research. By means of the collection of Dutch LGBT+ websites of the Dutch National Library (KB) and the Internet Archive, this project aims to overcome this problem. It sets out to answer the question: What does the Dutch queer web sphere look like in terms of substance (lexicon and entities) and structure (which websites constitute this sphere and what is the relationship between them) and how has it changed over time? (In line with scholars referenced in this proposal, I use the term ‘queer’ to describe the diverse group of individuals clustered under the LGBT+ umbrella.)

Drawing on the fairly recent body of scholarly work about web archives, this project explores how the Dutch queer web sphere can be analysed by three computational, distant-reading methods: hyperlink analyses, corpus-linguistic analyses and Named Entity Recognition. As historical research grounded in web archives is scarce, a secondary goal is to showcase how these archives are instrumental to answer topical questions that are highly relevant to society. This, in turn, ought to incite other researchers and the wider population to interact with these rich-yet-underused repositories.

Main Research Topics

  • Web archive history
  • Queer / LGBT studies
  • Cultural history

Dr. Jesper Verhoef

Utrecht University (UU), The Netherlands

Fellow at CAIS from July to September 2023