My research centers on women’s book history, working to define this field on a conceptual level and explore its practice in my research on women’s writing and authorship in the Early Modern English print trade. In forthcoming work, I theorize feminist bibliography as an activist intervention that pushes against the narratives and historiography that frame book history as a field separate from critical theory and therefore the messiness of identity and cultural inscription. Feminist bibliography prompts us to investigate the ways we can reimagine the field around, as Martha Nell Smith says, “principled flexibility … to take into account the ‘messy’ facts of authorship, production, and reception: race, class, gender, and sexuality.”
Currently, I am co-writing a book with Cait Coker on this topic, preliminarily titled Women and the Book: A Bibliographic History. Our book recovers a history of women bibliographers, often uncredited and frequently uncited, that offers a feminist alternative to the white, male history of the field. We offer histories of librarians, cataloguers, textual editors, and professors that have meaningfully shaped the fields of book history, digital humanities, and the study of material and archival objects.
To promote the study of women and make visible their historical contributions in areas of interest to book history, we co-edit the Women in Book History Bibliography, an online resource of secondary sources on women’s writing and labor. This project was launched in May 2016, and currently boasts more than 1,300 sources categorized by time period and topic through a searchable bibliographic database. Recently, we were awarded Honorable Mention for the MLA Prize for a Bibliography, Archive, or Digital Project. The site also hosts a blog, Sammelband, that is catered toward teaching book history in the classroom for those without substantial resources like an archive or a press.
Martha Nell Smith. “The Human Touch Software of the Highest Order: Revisiting Editing as Interpretation.” Textual Cultures, vol. 1, no. 1, 2007. Pg. 2.