July 13, 2017
Jennifer Tuttle, Ph.D., Dorothy M. Healy Professor of Literature and Health in the Department of English, co-founder of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and faculty director of the Maine Women Writers Collection, recently delivered a talk in Bordeaux, France. The venue was a conference with the theme "Border Crossings: Translation, Migration, and Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, and the Transpacific," hosted by the Université Bordeaux Montaigne from July 5 to 8.
Tuttle's paper, part of a panel of presentations on the topic of Border Crossings and Traveling, was titled "Transgressive Archives and the Labor of Recovery: The Case of Charlotte Perkins Gilman." Instead of analyzing Gilman’s own travels, transactions and transgressions--topics on which she and others have already published--Tuttle turned the interpretive lens backward onto the archives, presenting on her research into the institutional records of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
Tuttle's analysis reveals how the library acquired its Gilman papers, the largest and most significant archival collection of Gilman materials, and therefore uncovers Schlesinger archivists' foundational and deliberate, politically-informed labor of the early 1970s. Although usually erased entirely from scholars' accounts of the discoveries they make in archives, this labor actually made those very discoveries possible.
This research project represents the fusion of Tuttle's expertise in archivally based literary scholarship with her long experience directing the Maine Women Writers Collection at UNE, where she engages in the rigorous and crucial work of building and running an archives devoted to women's writing.
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