This bibliography focuses on resources related to recovery theory and methods. “Recovery” on the surface refers to the act of uncovering or excavating “lost” or neglected texts, figures, events, etc., in archives, or in scholarly analysis. But, as Brigitte Fielder reminds us in her essay cited in the bibliography below, recovery is “not simply a project of finding and reinstating texts, recovery involves broader methodologies for archival research, reading, and scholarship that extend beyond textual location and inclusion” (Fielder 18). While making texts more accessible or including an author on a syllabus might be a starting point for recovery, recovery theory and methods grapple with many complex questions and concerns, including:

  • What should be recovered and why? How do we make these decisions?
  • What systems or processes necessitate this recovery in the first place?
  • How might we contextualize texts/authors/events in our acts of recovery for a modern audience?
  • How do we facilitate student-led recovery that encourages students to explore outside of familiar, well-trodden ground in responsible ways?
  • When has a text been effectively “recovered”? What is the sustainability of this recovery or its ongoing efforts/afterlives look like? 

While these are just a few of the questions explored by the works in this bibliography, we hope you uncover many more facets of recovery through the resources shared below.

Brooks, Tisha. Spirit Deep: Recovering the Sacred in Black Women’s Travel. University of Virginia Press, 2023.
Cole, Jean Lee. “A New Digital Divide: Recovery Editing in the Age of Digitization.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016, pp. 150–56.
de Vera, Samantha. “‘We the Ladies...Have Been Deprived of a Voice’: Uncovering Black Women’s Lives Through the Colored Conventions Archive.” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, no. 27, Dec. 2018.
Fetterley, Judith. “Commentary: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers and the Politics of Recovery.” American Literary History, vol. 6, no. 3, 1994, pp. 600–11.
Fielder, Brigitte. “Recovery.” American Periodicals, vol. 30, no. 1, 2020, pp. 18–21.
Foster, Frances Smith. Written by Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892. Indiana University Press, 1993.
Gaul, Theresa Strouth. “Recovering Recovery: Early American Women and Legacy’s Future.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, vol. 26, no. 2, 2009, pp. 262–83.
Harris, Sharon. “‘Across the Gulf’: Working in the ‘Post-Recovery’ Era.” Legacy, vol. 26, no. 2, 2009, pp. 284–95.
Hartman, Saidiya. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals. Norton, 2020.
Holland, Norman N. “The Inevitability of the Personal.” PMLA, vol. 111, no. 5, 1996, pp. 1146–60.
Kim, David J., and Jacqueline Wernimont. “Performing Archive: Identity, Participation, and Responsibility in the Ethnic Archive.” Archive Journal, no. 4, 2014.
Lauter, Paul, and Sandra Zagarell. “Introduction: Forum on Recovery and Democracy.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, vol. 36, no. 2, 2019, pp. 236–37.
McCaskill, Barbara. “Beyond Recovery: A Process Approach to Research on Women in Early African American Print Cultures.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016, pp. 12–18.
McHenry, Elizabeth. Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies. Duke University Press, 2002.
Ozment, Kate. “From Recovery to Restoration:  Aphra Behn and Feminist Bibliography.” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, 2018, pp. 106–17.
Ozment, Kate, and Cait Coker. “Building the Women in Book History Bibliography, or Digital Enumerative Bibliography as Preservation of Feminist Labor.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 3, 2019.
Peterson, Carla L. “Subject to Speculation: Assessing the Lives of African American Women in the Nineteenth Century.” Women’s Studies in Transition: The Pursuit of Interdisciplinarity, edited by Kate Conway-Turner, University of Delaware Press, 1998, pp. 109–17.
Showalter, Elaine. A Jury of Her Peers: Celebrating American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx. Vintage, 2010.
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, edited by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, Columbia University Press, 1994, pp. 66–111.
Steadman, Jennifer Bernhardt. “Archive Survival Guide: Practical and Theoretical Approaches for the Next Century of Women’s Studies Research.” Legacy, vol. 19, no. 2, 2002, pp. 230–40.
Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and Hte Production of History. Beacon Press, 1995.
Walker, Alice. “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.” In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, Harcourt, 1983, pp. 231–43.
Williams, Andrea N. “Recovering Black Women Writers in Periodical Archives.” American Periodicals, vol. 27, no. 1, 2017, pp. 25–28.