My CCCC proposal was accepted! Woo hoo!
It is, as you might expect, related to my dissertation. The title of my presentation is: Gendering Service: Protesting Gender-Determined Work During the First World War.
Yes, it is about libraries and librarians. Specifically, I'm writing about work in military camps during WWI. Only men could be camp librarians, but of course women could freely volunteer their labor on occasion. I have a great series of letters in one of the library practitioner journals going back and forth between male and female librarians. Good Times!
Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to manage two conferences in San Francisco this year. Soooo expensive!!
Update begins here:
Gendering Service: Protesting Gender-Determined Work During the First World War
At the advent of WWI, the American Library Association (ALA) worked with the U. S. War Department to create libraries at military encampments, a move calculated to promote public libraries as instrumental elements of democracy and public service (Wiegand; Young). What the
In this paper I discuss these articles and letters, along with reports from librarians serving at the encampments, within the context of increasingly gendered labor practices within libraries and the greater community. In my analysis, I locate the American public library as a “cultural site” where, in Johnson’s sense of the term, labor takes on gendered characteristics which both affect the work that is done and the work that is considered acceptable within gendered bounds (Johnson). At a time when public libraries were trying to establish themselves as vital elements of democratic society, fissures such as those represented in these letters to the editor disrupted the status quo and opened conversation about the worth of women’s library work. I explore the way this exchange represents a growing tension about women in the workplace, as well as the ways both men and women represent library work as masculine and feminine work, respectively. Specifically, I situate this writing as public protest about gendered working conditions and gendered expectations within an institution trying to define itself for both Community and Nation.
Johnson, Nan. Gender and Rhetorical Space in American Life, 1866-1910. Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002.
Wiegand, Wayne A. "An Active Instrument for Propaganda" : The American Public Library During World War I. Beta Phi Mu Monograph, No. 1. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989.
Young, Arthur P. Books for Sammies : The American Library Association and World War I. Beta Phi Mu Chapbook ; No. 15. Pittsburgh, Pa.: Beta Phi Mu, 1981.