RWSA 2018 Reflection: Historical methodology and the McLennan sisters

RWSA 2018 Reflection: Historical methodology and the McLennan sisters

Daniel Samson

What a fantastic Rural Women’s Studies Association conference at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA!  In the coming weeks, we will be sharing highlights of and reflections on #RWSA2018.

At RWSA 2018, Daniel Samson presented a short biography of Bell McLennan (1826-1883), the wife of James Barry, a 19th-century Nova Scotian miller, printer, fiddler, and diarist. The challenge was to write her biography based on his diary. Barry’s was in some ways a typical farmer’s diary recording mundane matters of weather and work, but it was also framed deliberately as a literary production and endeavoured to represent a life much more so than most. But it was a male life, and though attentive to matters of the domestic world, politics, and literature it was rarely attentive to his wife – except when she displeased him. How, Samson asks, can we see Bell’s McLennan’s life through her husband’s diary, a diary near completely devoid of her perspective?

You can read his post here.

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