Project Vox (2019-2020)


The all-male canon in early modern philosophy has remained essentially fixed in teaching and research for 50 years. While this reflects women’s exclusion from early modern intellectual life, historical research reveals that many women still managed to influence philosophical debates, including those of canonical figures. Since there is still very little scholarship on women’s work, it is difficult to refashion curricula., a scholarly and pedagogical guide to early modern women philosophers, seeks to rectify this situation. Through international scholarly collaborations and a local, interdisciplinary team, the Project Vox team has researched and published content on five philosophers since launching in 2015.

This project seeks to change how philosophy is taught, a goal that will be realized over the course of many years as more philosophers get added to the Project Vox website. However, each figure on the website requires many months of original, historical research to meet scholarly standards. To sustain this effort over time, the team must refine and improve publishing workflows as well as methods for how to research, describe and ensure appropriate reuse of images for the site.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project has two linked goals: 1) the strengthening and extension of the Project Vox website to cover a wider range of early modern women; and 2) the training of students in various research, writing, textual and visual analysis and project management skills that might not be readily available through their degree programs.

In 2019-2020, the aim will be to improve the publishing workflows of Project Vox to make them more transparent and replicable so that future team members at Duke as well as teams at partner institutions are better able to contribute content. Workflow improvements will focus on better defining how to research, describe and ensure appropriate reuse of images for the site.

Correspondingly, this project will also focus on building students’ understanding of digital humanistic research and publishing by involving them in every aspect of the work, from gathering and synthesizing historical information to engaging instructors and scholars through social media.

Key areas of work will include:

  • Primary and secondary research: Beginner members of the team will conduct basic research (e.g., developing rudimentary biographies and bibliographies from existing scholarship). Advanced members, such as graduate students, will conduct archival research.
  • Image research: Team members will find historically accurate images that portray the life and times of women philosophers. This will involve methods and knowledge from art history, library science and law, to ascertain whether images accurately depict the person and time intended, provide relevant metadata and determine the appropriate source for obtaining reuse permission.
  • Outreach and assessment: In order to ensure that Project Vox is reaching its target audience and to continually improve how it reflects and involves that audience, team members will conduct social media campaigns, solicit input from members of the community and conduct web assessments.

Anticipated Outputs

Original archival and secondary research on early modern women philosophers; maintenance and expansion of Project Vox website; social media campaigns; website assessment for functionality, usability and reach


Summer 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Summer 2019 (Optional): Review Anna Maria van Schurman philosopher entry; begin publishing workflow review; begin preliminary research on next philosopher entry
  • Fall 2019: Participate in Project Vox Fall Retreat for all team members; plan campaign (including social media) for van Schurman entry; stage and launch van Schurman entry; research next philosopher entry
  • Spring 2020: Write and edit next philosopher entry (including images); determine next philosopher to publish; submit grant proposals

Team Outputs to Date

“Extraordinary” Women in Philosophy (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

This Team in the News

Meet the Members of the 2019-2020 Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

See related teams, Project Vox: Recovering the World of Women Philosophers in Early Modern Europe (2020-2021) and Project Vox (2018-2019).


Image: Project Vox website

Project Vox website.

Team Leaders

  • Andrew Janiak, Arts & Sciences-Philosophy
  • Elizabeth Milewicz, Duke Libraries

/graduate Team Members

  • Meredith Graham, Music-PHD
  • Jane Harwell, English-PHD
  • Qiu Lin, Philosophy-PHD
  • Nicholas Smolenski, Music-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Jackson Cooksey
  • James Kelleher
  • Sandra Luksic, Philosophy (AB), Political Science (AB2)
  • Katherine Owensby, Classical Languages (AB), Linguistics (AB2)
  • Damla Ozdemir

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Roy Auh, Duke Libraries
  • Mattia Begali, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies
  • Katherine Brading, Arts & Sciences-Philosophy
  • Susanna Caviglia, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
  • William Shaw, Duke Libraries
  • Cheryl Thomas, Duke Libraries