My research centers on book history scholarship and its characterization as an object-oriented field separate from critical theory. As a feminist scholar, my interests are primarily gender and sexuality, framed in ways that promote intersectionality. I advocate for feminist bibliography, an activist intervention that pushes against the narratives and historiography that frame book history as separate from critical theory. I argue that, in fact, book history has always been influenced by critical theory, both methodologically through its inception in the debates of authority in textual studies and subjectively through the ideology of its practitioners. Feminist bibliography rewrites this historiography and 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.”
I am co-writing a book with Cait Coker on this topic, preliminarily titled Women and the Book: A Bibliographic History. 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 600 sources categorized by time period and topic. We will continue to build this resource, and future plans include headnotes and building a database searchable through a variety of functions.
Martha Nell Smith. “The Human Touch Software of the Highest Order: Revisiting Editing as Interpretation.” Textual Cultures, vol. 1, no. 1, 2007. Pg. 2.
Leslie Howsam, “In My View: Women and Book History.” SHARP News, vol. 7, no. 4, 1998, pp. 1–2