Category Archives: Proposals
Protected: Project Proposal: Genetics & Gender: The Cloning Narratives of Feminist Science Fiction in the 1970’s
In the UO Special Collections, there is a lot of correspondence between Joanna Russ and Samuel R. Delany. Delany played a large part in developing Russ’ understanding of her own sexuality and power as a woman. Between the two of them are multiple letters that talk about what it means to be an artist, especially a non-heterosexual and/or female artist.
Because of the way that the special collections has collected the letters of these authors, I will primarily be looking at letters that Delany sent to Russ. I will use these letters to try and dissect themes that crop up in Russ’s stories. Although it is extremely presumptuous to assume complete understanding of any causation between an outside force and an artist’s output, I believe that the friendship between these two authors was so strong that I can point to its effects on Russ’ writings.
I was initially drawn to this project through my own love of Delany’s work and interest in his life. When I found out that the UO Special Collections had boxes and boxes of his letters to an author we would be looking at this term, I was excited to get my hands on tangible pieces of his life. I’m excited to take an even closer look at this ephemera to better understand how Delany related to the novels we’ll be looking at in class. If I can uncover that he had any influence on the writing by one of the genre’s main authors, I’ll consider this final project to be a resounding success.
Joanna Russ Papers, Boxes 3 and 4, Coll 261, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Or.
Delany, Samuel R. The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965. New York: Arbor House/W. Morrow, 1988. Print.
Delany, Samuel R. Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. [Middletown, Conn.]: Wesleyan UP, 1996. Print.
Russ, Joanna. The Adventures of Alyx. London: Women’s, 1985. Print.
Russ, Joanna. The Female Man. Boston: Beacon, 1986. Print.
Russ, Joanna. The Two of Them. New York: Berkley Pub. : Distributed by Putnam, 1978. Print.
Protected: Final Project Proposal: What was the Influence of the Environmental Movement on Le Guin and Her Writing?
In the world of feminist science fiction the question “Do we really need men in our society?” is raised by many authors in the context of novels or short stories. In practice, few seriously wanted this as a reality, seeing men as both necessary and important to the life of a community. A noted exception to this is Sally Miller Gearhart.
In both her personal and public life Sally Gearhart advocates for a separation of the genders. So far, reading through her correspondence collected in the UO archives, I’ve seen her plead her case to her alma mater, Sweet Briar College, to remain a women’s college, for the sake of quality of education. Similar threads emerge in her letters to other individuals and organizations, as she makes side or major remarks on the nature of women, sisterhood, and community.
To me, this idea is incredibly interesting. The request for a female-only world through the lens of Sally Gearhart is not an unreasonable, or radical thing. Through her words, the reader gets the sense that she is a reasonable person with a well-thought-out suggestion, based not on a reactionary mindset, but rather one that has contemplated the world as it is. Sally is a woman who holds a doctorate in theater, she has lived and interacted with men all her life. And yet, she continues to point out the differences between men and women, and the benefits to women by living in a community of their own. For my final project, I want to explore this view. What precisely, is Sally Gearhart’s philosophy of separatism? To what extent should the genders be separated? What does this look like in practical application?
The bulk of my research will be in special collections, in Sally Gearhart’s correspondence, papers, and speeches. She also co-wrote a Tarot Card book that is in another collection in the Archives that I’ve found interesting and potentially insightful to her views. For more insight on her separatist vision, I will also draw on the ideas she expresses in her novel, The Wanderground (1978). Currently, the plan is to present my findings in a paper, but I’m open to other methods of expression as the research unfolds.
Gearhart, Sally Miller. The Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women. Watertown, Mass: Persephone,1978. Print.
Sally Miller Gearhart Papers, Coll 305, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
The Feminist Tarot; A View from the Dykes, SO-CLAP! Collection, Coll 266, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
As a student concentrating in accounting with little background knowledge of feminist science fiction, I approached this project from an angle that leveraged my knowledge of business while remaining grounded in the primary sources from the University of Oregon’s Special Collections. The basis of my paper centers on the letter correspondence between Ursula K. Le Guin and her literary agent, Virginia Kidd. My paper seeks to investigate the dynamic woman of Virginia Kidd through the research question: what were the barriers of entry that Kidd faced as a female literary agent and as such what was her role in the feminist literary revolution of the 1960’s?
Circumstance would have it that during the class’s orientation in the university’s archives, I stumbled upon the Le Guin-Kidd correspondence. Le Guin’s tenacious yet caring right-hand woman immediately captivated me. I was inspired and intrigued by the combination of Virginia Kidd’s shrewd business-like qualities and her interpersonal skills that fostered an intimate relationship with Le Guin. Le Guin recognized this force, yet why does Virginia Kidd remain such a mystery to the public?
It is true; a literary agent is only as good as her clients. But, the opposite holds true. I argue that through her battles in business Virginia Kidd advanced the status of women equal to the amount and efforts of her renowned clients such as Ursula K. Le Guin and Joanna Russ. Whereas the authors faced discourse discrimination, Kidd thrived in a hostile work environment, which arguably still retains many of these qualities today. One such hardship that exemplifies Kidd’s business skills is when she arranged Le Guin’s publication of “Nine Lives” in Playboy Magazine. It is due to the finagling of Kidd between a skeptical Le Guin and the sexist Playboy editors that won Le Guin a large contract and much notoriety. It is these episodes of true brilliance on Kidd’s part that will be the focus of my research.
I will employ the vehicle of business memos as a format for my final research product. I wanted to take advantage of the creative nature of the assignment and produce a work that differs from a traditional research paper. This format plays to my strengths as a business student but my objective is to successfully channel the spirit of Virginia Kidd through a letter. Therefore, I will write three to four business memos from the perspective of Virginia Kidd addressed to various editors and authors that center on pivotal events and publications. One such example will be to write a letter from Kidd to the editor of Playboy Magazine to push the Nine Lives deal. In short, I want to recreate the personality of Kidd found in such quotations like, “Outside the s-f field I swing a rather small stick, but I swing,” and portray how it was in large part the efforts of Kidd which kindled the feminist revolution in science fiction.
Box 1, Folders 1-10, Correspondence with Virginia Kidd, The Ursula K. Le Guin Papers Coll. 270, Division of Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299
Box 40-41, Legal and Financial Documents, The Ursula K. Le Guin Papers Coll. 270, Division of Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299