The Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project (LGLC) takes two books, Don McLeod’s chronologies Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada Volumes 1 and 2 (ECW Press, 1996; Homewood Books, 2014), and has converted them into a database that allows users to explore the people, places, events, and publications that defined Canadian lesbian and gay liberation history.
The Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada Prosopography has extracted all the biographical information included in the two volume chronology. This information has been supplemented with additional research using primary sources (archival records and periodicals from the time period) and secondary sources (internet sources, reference books, contemporary periodicals, and library authority records).
What is Prosopography?
First developed by Ancient historians, and revived by historians in the 1930s, prosopography is a technique for building profiles from fragmentary and partial data—allowing scholars to determine, for example, the average life of a Roman slave from hundreds of incomplete records of slaves’ lives. Contemporary scholars have turned to computer-aided prosopography to model patterns even where group members’ lives are well documented (Verboven, Carlier, and Dumolyn 2007). Inclusive prosopography, which fully represents previously marginalized groups, can inform and reshape researchers’ perceptions of both the past and the present.
Our Approach to Prosopography
In building our prosopography, we have started with Bradley and Short’s relational model and factoid-based approach. Factoids, as envisioned by Bradley and Short, are collections of assertions made by sources about a person… By recording factoids, or who said what about whom, we can foreground the historical specificity of the archival sources that underpin the project.
We are working to address the “fuzzy” nature of data about people, and avoid either “squeezing… many shades of gray into a limited number of categories” or including so many categories as to make sorting the data in any meaningful way impossible (Bradley and Short 2005, 16).
The publication context of primary source data shapes the assertions in the prosopography and calls for Bradley and Short’s factoid method. For example, activists’ self-definition varies widely according to publication venue, with liberationist press’ assertions about people often standing in direct opposition to the assertions made by the mainstream press.
Adapted from “Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada: Representing the Dyke Dynamo” (Schwartz & Crompton, Digital Studies. Vol. 4, 2014)
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Cite This Resource
Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada Prosopography. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://prosopography.lglc.ca.
References to biographical pages:
George Hislop. (n.d.). In Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada Prosopography. Retrieved from https://prosopography.lglc.ca.