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list price: $123.99
edition:Hardcover
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category: Social Science
published: Sep 2019
ISBN:9780823285495

Witnessing Girlhood

Toward an Intersectional Tradition of Life Writing

by Leigh Gilmore & Elizabeth Marshall

reviews: 0
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $123.99
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
category: Social Science
published: Sep 2019
ISBN:9780823285495
Description

When more than 150 women testified in 2018 to the sexual abuse inflicted on them by Dr. Larry Nassar when they were young, competitive gymnasts, they exposed and transformed the conditions that shielded their violation, including the testimonial disadvantages that cluster at the site of gender, youth, and race. In Witnessing Girlhood, Leigh Gilmore and Elizabeth Marshall argue that they also joined a long tradition of autobiographical writing led by women of color in which adults use the figure and narrative of child witness to expose harm and seek justice. Witnessing Girlhood charts a history of how women use life narrative to transform conditions of suffering, silencing, and injustice into accounts that enjoin ethical response. Drawing on a deep and diverse archive of self-representational forms—slave narratives, testimonio, memoir, comics, and picture books—Gilmore and Marshall attend to how authors return to a narrative of traumatized and silenced girlhood and the figure of the child witness in order to offer public testimony. Emerging within these accounts are key scenes and figures that link a range of texts and forms from the mid–nineteenth century to the contemporary period. Gilmore and Marshall offer a genealogy of the reverberations across timelines, self-representational acts, and jurisdictions of the child witness in life writing. Reconstructing these historical and theoretical trajectories restores an intersectional testimonial history of writing by women of color about sexual and racist violence to the center of life writing and, in so doing, furthers our capacity to engage ethically with representations of vulnerability, childhood, and collective witness.

About the Authors
Leigh Gilmore is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of several books, including most recently Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives.
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Elizabeth Marshall is Associate Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Graphic Girlhoods: Visualizing Education and Violence.
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Contributor Notes

Leigh Gilmore (Author)
Leigh Gilmore is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of several books, including most recently Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives.

Elizabeth Marshall (Author)
Elizabeth Marshall is Associate Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Graphic Girlhoods: Visualizing Education and Violence.

Editorial Reviews

Witnessing Girlhood brilliantly analyzes the role of childhood to trauma narrative and reader empathy. Working against the cliché of the sentimentalized child, Gilmore and Marshall demonstrate with clarity and determination that the ‘white savior’ trope in life writing about trauma is not the ascendant mode. This book’s depth and quality emerge from the authors' profound, long-standing investment in trauma studies and childhood.

— Katharine Capshaw, University of Connecticut

Witnessing Girlhood is a tour de force: demanding and authoritative. Gilmore and Marshall articulate a powerful analysis of representations of girls and women on the fraught subjects of domestic violence, rape culture, survivor and victim identity, and persistent concerns about intrinsic female vulnerability. Here is a necessary and eloquent feminist affirmation on issues of gender and violence.

— Gillian Whitlock, author of Soft Weapons and Postcolonial Life Narratives: Testimonial Transactions

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