A Visual Analysis of Rosey E. Pool's Correspondence Archives. Biographical Data, Intersectionality, and Social Network Analysis
This paper explores the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) for individual historians, by focusing on the correspondence archives of Rosey E. Pool (1905-1971). Pool’s position in her international network of writers and scholars will be examined through her contacts with Hoyt W. Fuller and Robert Hayden over the period 1966 to 1971. The different positions these three actors held towards The First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar, April 1966) will be examined. The Dakar Festival was an important and symbolic event in the transnational Négritude movement.Using the theories of ‘intersectionality’ and ‘collective identity,’ Pool’s network will be analysed by focusing on specific religious and personal features that have influenced the dynamics of her network. A deeper insight of this specific period will be provided by performing a close reading of key letters and by placing the correspondence in its historical context. At the same time, the use of distant reading will be discussed, by dissecting and inspecting a visualisation (made with Gephi) of a database based on Pool’s ego-centred network. I will argue that the two approaches of close and distant reading are inseparable in historical research that makes use of Social Network Analysis.