What happens when we take the joke of “lesbian processing” seriously as a research method? Heavy Processing does just this, by tracing the multi-directional genealogies and vast affinities of processing-heavy methods as innovations in information technologies (operating systems, central processing units, network designs). Part methods handbook, manifesto, and survival guide, this book opens up the fields of information studies, data studies, digital media studies, and digital humanities to critical digital methods, information technologies, and infrastructures to trans-, feminist, and queer (TFQ) cultural protocols and ways of working.
Cowan and Rault offer heavy processing as a maximalist research method, consistent with a long and proud lesbian-leaning TFQ tradition of making a mountain out of a molehill. Heavy Processing draws together activist, artistic, and scholarly work that is both about and not about digital materials to critically reorient digital research methods calibrated for accountability, relationship-building, and trust as measures of scholarly rigor. A raging romp of a methods manual, Cowan and Rault offer an alternative to mass digitization in the form of TFQ processing for analog and born digital materials; they write for students, faculty, and researchers, as well as for information, cultural heritage, and tech-sector professionals, for anyone interested in digital media and feminist, queer, and transcultural studies, and for anyone who has ever been studied.
Cover art by Jess MacCormack.