Research

Her BookMy research centers on women’s book history, working to define this field on a conceptual level in theory and practice. 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.”

An woodcut of Hroswitha of Gandersheim presenting her work, credited to Durer

Hroswitha of Gandersheim, namesake of Hroswitha Club

Currently, I am working on a monograph on the history of women’s bibliographic labor from the late nineteenth century to today in England, the U.S., and Canada. This work recovers a history of women bibliographers, librarians, cataloguers, and collectors often uncredited and frequently uncited that offers a feminist alternative to the white, male history of book studies. I am particularly interested in Hroswitha Club, a women’s bibliophile organization created because women could not be admitted to the Grolier Club.

To promote the study of women and make visible their historical contributions in areas of interest to book history, Cait Coker and I 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 1,500 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. We have a forthcoming article in DHQ on bibliography as the preservation of feminist labor. The site also hosts a blog, Sammelbandthat is catered toward teaching book history in the classroom for those without substantial resources like an archive or a press.

Notes
Martha Nell Smith. “The Human Touch Software of the Highest Order: Revisiting Editing as Interpretation.” Textual Cultures, vol. 1, no. 1, 2007. Pg. 2.