For my final project, I plan to explore how some of the different authors we’re looking at identified themselves within the feminist movement. I’m interested in discovering this through looking at how some of the authors expressed their beliefs to their peers, and how they did or did not agree with each other’s beliefs. Obviously, I don’t want to generalize based on their personal interactions, but I believe I can discover a lot through their correspondences, especially considering the time period a lot of these correspondences were taking place during. The letters I will be looking at were written during the 1970’s, a decade that was extremely powerful for the feminist movement, when a lot of issues were being addressed and fought.
I plan on looking at three authors, the first being James Tiptree Jr.. I am curious about Tiptree’s ties to the feminist movement because Tiptree’s identity was controversial, in that there has been much debate as to which gender Alice Sheldon/ James Tiptree identified with. I believe that Tiptree’s gender fluidity could certainly be something that made him feel closer to the feminist movement and the fight for equality. I will also be looking at Joanna Russ because of her tendency to be greatly outspoken, in addition to the fact that she is one of the most widely-known feminist writers. I also expect that Russ will have a lot to express in her letters to Alice Turner about her being denied tenure, and how that related to her beliefs around feminism and activism. Lastly, I will be looking at Ursula Le Guin, because she consistently explored feminist themes in her texts, including the theme of deconstructing gender, which I find very interesting.
For my research I will be looking at all of the correspondences between the three authors themselves, in addition to looking at Joanna Russ’s correspondence with Sally Miller-Gearhart and Russ’s correspondence with Alice Turner. I’m interested in looking at Russ’s correspondence with Gearhart because we have discussed Gearhart’s affiliation with the lesbian-separatist branch of feminism, and I would be interested in reading Russ’s opinion on that, and I will be looking at her correspondence with Turner because I am interested in reading more about Russ’s feelings on being denied tenure and how that related to her beliefs at the time.
For the final, tangible project I am planning on making a feminist zine which will include information about the authors, information about feminism in the 1970’s (or “Second-Wave Feminism”), and finally information about the authors affiliation surrounding the feminist movement, including details about any activism they participated in and chronicled. I am really thrilled about making a zine because I will be able to not only research the letters in special collections, but I will also be able to look at and have a way to incorporate any photographs or media that I find relevant, in addition to media chronicling the feminist movement in the 1970’s.
Joanna Russ Papers, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries,
Ursula Le Guin Papers, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon
Libraries, Eugene, Or.