113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

Women and Work

Session Chair: 
Susanne Weil, Centralia College, Washington
Christine Mower, Seattle University
Session 4: Friday 3:50-5:20pm
McKenzie (PMCC)
Topic Area: 


  1. Ann V Bliss, Texas A&M University-San Antonio
    Dorothy Canfield’s 1924 novel The Homemaker represents the risk to the family when gendered work roles are adamantly adhered to, recognizing widespread cultural contempt for women’s domestic work.  This paper discusses how the novel challenges what Lauren Berlant calls “dominant life narratives” by disrupting apparently natural heteronormative roles.
  2. Tanya Heflin, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    This essay examines the previously untold story of Beulah Johns, whose manuscript diary recounts the first two years of her seven-year career in the US Army Nurse Corps. Johns’s diary and scrapbooks from this period provide new insight into the working lives of a new class of working women that was created through the experience of World War II.
  3. Benedick Turner, St. Joseph's College, New York
    Although Conan Doyle’s stories obscure the work Sherlock Holmes’s female clients do as governesses and teachers, they also show how some of those women work as detectives.  Several work with Holmes under his direction, but Irene Adler works against him, solving a case in which Holmes is a villain, by employing one of his favorite strategies—disguise—to pose as a man.  However, given the detection done by other women in the canon, it would be inaccurate to say that she is doing men’s work.  
  4. Mary Powell, Claremont Graduate University
    As a professional Victorian writer for almost thirty years, one of the most important aspects of Ellen Wood’s authorial work was the creation of a respectable image.  My paper will explore the ways in which Wood strategically worked to maintain her respectability despite her very public and scandalous work as a sensation novelist by employing a strategy of self-erasure so effective that she remains relatively unknown even today.
Session Cancelled: