Research Statement & Activities

Unarrested Archives Book CoverDr. Linda Morra was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley from January to April 2017, after which time she served as the Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies in Dublin, Ireland (2017-2018). She recently won three SSHRC grants, one of these a Connection Grant, which supported the conference, “Untold Stories,” staged at UCD in April 2017 and its corresponding volume of papers (currently under review with WLUP), and the second an Insight Grant, to support her research for the biography of Jane Rule. She is also a SSHRC co-applicant for the Richler Library Project, headed up by Dr. Jason Camlot (Associate Dean, Concordia University).

From 2005-2009, she was awarded another SSHRC Grant (Standard Research) and from 2009-2013, the FQRSC Établissement de nouveaux professeurs-chercheurs, for Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women’s Authorship (University of Toronto Press 2014), which was a finalist for the Gabrielle Roy Prize. Therein, she examines how Canadian women writers approached their own archives for the purposes of locating self-agency. She then investigates how they were regulated and contained, and how they existed in or resisted both personal and professional antagonist relationships. These antagonisms generated the very divisions, the conflictual set of relations, by which women then engaged in productive disruptions.

Jane Rule - Taking My LifeDuring her research for the monograph, she discovered Jane Rule’s hand-written autobiography, Taking My Life, in the University of British Columbia archives. She subsequently transcribed, edited, annotated, and prepared the autobiography for publication (Talon 2011) and also wrote the afterword. Taking My Life was shortlisted for the LAMBDA Award (2012), received a nomination for the Stonewall Book Award (2011), and garnered many positive reviews. One such review appeared in The Globe and Mail. She is drawing upon this research to write the biography of Jane Rule and to evaluate her interventions in the formation of a west coast queer culture, her current research in progress.

Basements and Attics, Closets and CyberspaceAs she worked on her monograph, she  collaborated with Dr. Jessica Schagerl on editing Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace: Explorations in Canadian Women’s Archives (WLUP 2012), a collection of essays that assesses the negotiations—and sometimes contradictions—involved in responsibly dealing with the tangible records of women’s public and private lives, and the fact that these preserved archival documents were often not seen as part of a systematic nation-building process. This collaboration was preceded by another with Dr. Deanna Reder. Together, they co-edited the interdisciplinary collection, Troubling Tricksters (WLUP 2010), which was nominated for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in English.

Troubling Tricksters Book CoverDr. Reder and she also worked on another collaboration, supported by a SSHRC Connection Grant (January 2014), which drew together Indigenous studies scholars and students from across the country to consider pedagogical approaches to Indigenous literatures. The event took place at the end of February 2014 in Vancouver, at which time Dr. Reder and she workshopped a new anthology, Learn, Teach, Challenge: Approaching Indigenous Literatures (WLUP 2016).

With Dr. Laura Davis (Red Deer College), she worked on the book, Margaret Laurence and Jack McClelland, Letters (supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to 2015),  published by the University of Alberta Press (2018). Dr. Morra produced an edited volume, titled Moving Papers (forthcoming with WLUP 2019), which assesses the affective and socio-political facets of archival materials.