• The Bechdel Test and the Social Form of Character Networks

    Author(s):
    Scott Selisker (see profile)
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    Digital Humanists, Feminist Humanities, LSL Language and Society, TC Digital Humanities
    Subject(s):
    Gender studies, Literary theory
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    character, social networks, social networks analysis
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6HH4G
    Abstract:
    This essay describes the popular Bechdel Test—a measure of women’s dialogue in films—in terms of social network analysis within fictional narrative. It argues that this form of vernacular criticism arrives at a productive convergence with contemporary academic critical methodologies in surface and postcritical reading practices, on the one hand, and digital humanities, on the other. The data-oriented character of the Bechdel Test, which a text rigidly passes or fails, stands in sharp contrast to identification- or recognition-based evaluations of a text’s feminist orientation, particularly because the former does not prescribe the content, but merely the social form, of women’s agency. This essay connects the Bechdel Test and a lineage of feminist and early queer theory to current work on social network analysis within literary texts, and it argues that the Bechdel Test offers the beginnings of a measured approach to understanding agency within actor networks.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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