Date of Award
Ph.D. in English
Leigh Anne Duck
University of Mississippi
This dissertation examines southern lesbian feminist print culture of the 1970s-2000s, which produced some of the most intersectional work to come out of second-wave feminism— especially in terms of creative and critical challenges to anti-Blackness, classism, metrocentrism, and regional exceptionalism. A central contribution of “Sealed with a Kiss on Your Artery” is its reimagination of archival reading practices from a queer-feminist literary studies perspective. Each chapter examines the archive of a particular lesbian feminist figure and demonstrates a corresponding interpretive practice; I seek to encounter these historical figures in a manner befitting not only the facts of their contributions to lesbian feminism, but also their radical methods of mobilizing print culture to transform collective feeling, affiliation, and action.
Taking North Carolina-based Feminary Collective’s lesbian feminist literary journal as a starting point, the first chapter demonstrates backward-onward reflexivity as a methodology, which researchers can use to confront the past so that our presently-situated research serves ever-evolving visions of justice. Drawing from the archive of writer and special collections librarian Ann Allen Shockley, the second chapter combines some of her theories of librarianship with close readings of her fiction to argue for reading practices that remain cognizant of the power dynamics of archival research. The third chapter revisits the lesbian feminist Sex Wars of the 1980s through the archive of southern writer and sex activist Dorothy Allison; I illustrate a process of perverting the archives to tell a story that moves away from the language of war and centers erotic labor as a form of care work. Finally, the fourth chapter proposes a queer praxis of care, kinship, and grief-work modeled after the speculative archive of Jewelle Gomez’s neo-slave vampire narrative The Gilda Stories.
Heying, Sarah Margaret, ""Sealed with a Kiss on Your Artery": An Archive of Southern Lesbian Desire" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2514.