Confessional Knowing: A critically queer reading of friendships in the letters and journals of modernist women

This project will make use of unique research knowledge and expertise (Gammel) and specialist archive collections within the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre at Toronto Metropolitan University, including life writing materials such as autobiographical accounts, diaries and letters of figures, in particular Gertrude Stein and Florine Stettheimer.  It aims to develop a queer/feminist methodology, through a lens of defamiliarization (Palmer) at the convergence of creative and critical scholarship (Braidotti), to analyse relevant primary texts, from the MLC archive, for moments of knowing about friendships between women within the confessional telling. The method(s) will then be extended to published confessional material of modernist figures including Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville West, Violet Trefusis, Alice B. Toklas and Colette. The anticipated co-authored outputs are: a conference paper; a research paper (suitable for submission to a leading feminist publication); an account of the methodology; an open source reading list; a creative response to the material and a workshop.

Queer as Friends: rewriting the platonic-romantic relationship binary between women / Writing as knowing: locating creative nonfiction in queer feminist knowledge creation

Queer as Friends is a practice-based creative non-fiction project which interweaves confessional memoir with queer/feminist theoretical discourse. It proposes a manifesto for unconventional friendships between women. It is intended to be both an autoethnographic approach to scholarship and a celebration of queer friendships as a feminist act.

The narrative is an experimental non-chronological patchwork structure of micro-chapters comprising mixed forms. Encompassing intimate details and experiences from ten of my own unconventional, boundary-crossing, friendships, their disruptive potential and radical effects will be uncovered and examined. This builds on the emerging market of creative non-fiction by women, books that successfully blend memoir with qualitative research (Gilbert 2007, Moran 2011 2012, Russell 2016, Nelson 2015, Wilby 2017).

The project’s critical component is integral. I will explore the practice of writing the self as queer feminist methodology, in order to address the question: why is creative writing not yet accepted as scholarship?

Widening Research and Participation (wrap)

Katie is a part of a social research team at the University of Warwick, investigating the role of undergraduate research as a tool to improve educational outcomes for students from widening participation backgrounds. Read about the widening research and participation project here.

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