Research

540da951b805f8befbb7465d54816d83--artists-book-book-artYou can find my curriculum vitae here.

At the end of her poem, “Patchwork,” Irish poet Eavan Boland writes, “ But is it craft or art?” The line between craft and art is often a blurry one—a constellation of tensions, as Boland’s poem suggests, between technology and the hand, history and memory, and beauty and labor. Craftwork has emerged in formidable new ways in the 21st century, but its capacity for racial, socioeconomic, and gender diversity goes way back.

My book-in-progress, Crafting Modernity argues that women writers craft their own vision of modernity in the 20th and 21st centuries through politically engaged writings that invoke the processes of craft to create new ways of imagining the temporality of women’s lives. A body of feminist writing striking in quantity and power springs from art practices that often subvert wide, public circulation in fascinating ways.

Crafting Modernity necessarily reconceptualizes the archive of feminist modernity, not only by way of bringing new objects and collections to light, but also by actively participating in feminist modes of collection and curation. That participation has required me to venture well beyond the walls of institutional archives during the course of my research. Using these unique resources, the book offers a sustained focus on how feminist writers recover, reposition, and repurpose craft materials and processes. It also participates in that project of recovering, repositioning, and repurposing —a method that becomes a kind of scholarly craftwork.

Taking this broad view also helps to explain the significance of transmedia making for contemporary feminist literature and art. I explore women’s craftwork—considered in the fullest possible sense—in order to illuminate the materials and practices that have grounded women’s narratives and that continue to shape the cultural significance of those practices. My research aims to be as inclusive as possible, bringing race and gender/sexuality into conversations about the power, scope, and history of maker culture. I also practice the arts I write about, working to bridge the gap between theory and praxis in interdisciplinary literary studies. Much of this learning is collaborative, and I seek to make the role of collaboration and experiment visible in my work. Crafting Modernity braids together two strands of analysis. A scholarly introduction, four chapters, and a Coda are interwoven with five shorter interchapters (called “Techne”) detailing my experiential, tactile approach to research. Taken together, these two genres form a unique account of feminist epistemology, demonstrating a hybrid approach to intellectual authority that reflects the feminist methodology central to the book’s claims.

In addition to my book project and scholarly writing, I frequently publish in open-access forums. I research and speak about experiential pedagogies, feminist approaches to the archive, and I have an ongoing series of Q&A interviews with contemporary women writers at the Los Angeles Review of Books. I’m also starting a new project that examines the role of craft in narratives of chosen kin, intentional community formation, erotic networks, and queer family.