March 31, 2017, by owright

WHM: Making Women’s History

By Hannah-Rose Murray
The midway event for Women’s History Month was a fascinating talk ‘Making Women’s History: Feminist Archives and the Stories they tell’ by Dr Kate Dossett, Senior Lecturer in American History at Leeds University. She focused on the construction of feminist knowledge through Feminist Archives and Women’s Libraries, particularly focusing on the Women’s Library at LSE.
Dossett is one of the leading academics behind Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures (FAFF), an international and collaborative project which seeks to examine the relationship between women’s and gender history with feminist archives: how do such archives construct and share their stories?
Furthermore, Dossett discussed how the digital age has made an impact on women’s history and archives, and how technology can expand the ways in which we tell feminist history. She also focused on how these archives can move discussions beyond typical ‘wave’ histories of feminism, and Dossett showed clips from some fascinating documentary films to highlight this.
Her talk encouraged me to think more deeply about the role of an archive and how certain documents have been ignored – Dossett gave one example of the Women’s Library in London where original sources relating to feminism in the 1970s were not displayed due to its ‘radical’ nature (the leading archivist was offended in particular by the language used and assumed others would feel the same).
A week after Dossett’s talk, the hashtag #ThanksForTyping emerged on Twitter after a professor revealed numerous male author’s acknowledgement pages, thanking their wives for typing their manuscripts. This new story – http://www.npr.org/2017/03/30/521931310/-thanksfortyping-spotlights-unnamed-women-in-literary-acknowledgements – was timely in the context of Dossett’s talk, as both events teach us that hidden ‘her-story’ is embedded in our society, with much still waiting to (re)discovered.
Posted in Women's History Month