The Impact of Primary Sources on Lesbian Literature and History: Applying Primary Source Literacy Skills

Sponsored by AM

Recorded on 11/16/2022
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 293

In the third episode of this four-part series, Rachel Friars, a PhD student in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University, parses out the unique demands of both the archives and primary source databases. She explains the primary source literacy needed to overcome the barriers of archival research—notably, the urge to take any source at face value, instead of considering the rich cultural and historical context needed to situate each resource. In addition, Rachel unpacks the ethical needs of the archives, such as the importance of proper citation and the pitfalls of overgeneralization. Last, Rachel discusses how she plans to incorporate primary sources into the classroom, and the enthusiasm she’s already received from undergraduates first encountering queer archives.

Rachel Friars headshot. Bright yellow background. Woman with short hair, glasses, and maroon turtleneck.
Photo by Meghan Burry

About the guest:

Rachel M. Friars
Doctoral Candidate, Department of English Language and Literature
Queen’s University

Rachel M. Friars is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her current work centers on neo-Victorianism and nineteenth-century lesbian literature and history, with secondary research interests in life writing, historical fiction, true crime, and the Gothic. Her work on lesbian historical fiction has been published with Palgrave Macmillan, The Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies, Lexington Books, Crime Studies JournalQueer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, and is forthcoming in The Palgrave Handbook of neo-Victorianism.

Enjoy the conversation? Listen to the rest of the series:

Check out our previous podcast series with AM, Primary Source Literacy.

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