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WSM5940 - Lovers and Letters: Researching Private Lives

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Maryanne Dever and Marian Quartly


Not offered in 2007


Who keeps their letters? Who burns them? And why do researchers want to read them? This unit introduces students to a range of scholarly debates concerning research on private lives and personal papers. Utilising the insights of feminist and poststructuralist thinkers, the subject will examine the uses of gossip, letters, diaries, private papers and ephemera in the production of women's life narratives. It will simultaneously critique the role and motivation of the feminist scholar in locating, reading and interpreting 'the intimate archive'. Students will be encouraged to make connections between the material covered and their own practice as scholarly researchers.


Seminar presentation: 20%
Bibliographical exercise (3000 words): 30%
Essay (5000 words): 50%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week