Sharon Block plans to spend the year working on The Afterlife of Rape: Lives and Communities in Early America, a book project that traces individual and community experiences following incidents of sexual violence in the early United States. Recovering the life stories of self-identified victims and accused perpetrators situates the harm of sexual violence as a normalized outgrowth of gender, racial and settler colonial regimes of social control. Recovering the wide- and long-ranging impacts of sexual violence on women’s lives simultaneously interrogates archival practices and the terms by which we might produce history.
Block is a historian of eighteenth and nineteenth-century North America who specializes in the study of sexuality, race and enslavement, and digital humanities. Much of her scholarship focuses on the lives of non-traditional historical subjects. She is the author of Rape and Sexual Power in Early America (UNC Press, 2006), Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), and some of the earliest articles applying topic modeling in the humanities (JASIST 2005/2006). Her recent work includes an analysis of the racist, anti-Indigenous and sexist algorithms in the JSTOR scholarly database system (DHQ 2020). Block is professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.