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Tainted Witness

A dialogue between Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Visiting Scholar Leigh Gilmore and Professor Carla Kaplan.

Tainted Witness examines a current crisis in the use of life narratives. We have entered into a new era in which women and girls are increasingly asked to play a pivotal role as witnesses to violence, while at the same time their capacity to do so is undermined. How, in these conditions, is women’s witness possible? In her talk, Leigh Gilmore will pay particular attention to figuration in order to capture how the rhetoric of unreliability animates the space of testimony that actual women enter.

Leigh Gilmore is the author of The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony and Autobiographics: A Feminist Theory of Women’s.  Her essay “Girls in Crisis: Rescue and Transnational Feminist Autobiographical Resistance” (2010), co-written with Beth Marshall, received the first Claire Goldberg Moses Award for the most theoretically innovative article of the year in the journal “Feminist Studies.”

Carla Kaplan is the Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature, and is the author of Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance (Harper  Collins, forthcoming Fall 2013). She also authored Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters (2002), listed as a “Best of 2002” book by the New York Times Book Review, and The Erotics of Talk: Women’s Writing and Feminist Paradigms (1996).


A light lunch will be served.


Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Holmes Hall, 540

Event Type

Panel/Roundtable Discussion



Sponsoring Organization

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

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