Women and Archives

Special Issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, edited by Emily Rutter and Laura Engel

In “Archives, Records, and Power: The Making of Modern Memory” (2002), Joan Schwartz and Terry Cook assert, “Archives have the power to privilege and to marginalize. They can be a tool of hegemony; they can be a tool of resistance” (13). This dual function of the archive as a vehicle for both reinforcing social inequities and engendering counternarratives frames this special issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, scheduled for publication March 2021. We understand the term archive in a scopic sense, inclusive of institutional vaults of artifacts and records; traces and residues of embodied performances and affective experiences; and/or imaginative literature that renders historically marginalized voices legible. We welcome theoretical essays that build on the work of Jacques Derrida, Diana Taylor, Ann Cvetkovich, among other theorists of the archive, as well as essays that examine the relationship between women’s literary and/or cultural production and archival knowledge. Essays should be 6000-9000 words (excluding notes), should conform to the endnote style of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and should be submitted in Microsoft Word.

Essay topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Women authors’ efforts to fill in archival lacunae about slavery, colonialism, and/or Jim Crow segregation
  • The archive, theater, dance, and women’s performance histories
  • Women, material culture, and the archive
  • Resistance to “great men” readings of history through women’s archived diaries, letters, journals, and/or autobiographies
  • Gendered epistemologies and/or the recuperation of intersectional identities in the archive
  • Alternative ways of understanding what constitutes an archive and/or alternative sites of artifactual or historical knowledge
  • The role of the archival researcher in shaping the public’s understanding of women’s writing

We also invite two types of shorter essays: Archives pieces should be 1500-3000 words in length and present new bibliographies, descriptions of particular archives, or narratives of archival research. Innovations pieces should be 2000-5000 words long, and describe new scholarly approaches to the relationship between archives and women’s writing, such as digital humanities projects, or reflections on the effects of such projects on the field.

Initial queries and abstracts are encouraged, though final acceptance will be determined by the completed essay.  Please send submissions to Emily Rutter at errutter@bsu.edu and Laura Engel at engell784@duq.edu, and use the subject line “Tulsa Studies: Women and Archives.” Full-length essays, archival pieces, and innovation pieces must be submitted by March 15, 2018.

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