SNEAK PEEK: Andrea J.M. Harms, “Domestic Art: The Professionalization of ‘Accomplishment’ Painting in 19th Century Literature”

Andrea J. M. Harms was the graduate assistant to director of Women’s Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 2009-2011. This experience greatly influenced her research on 19th century British and American women’s literature. She is currently working on her dissertation titled, “Answering the Woman Question: Domestic Professionalism of Women Writers and Women Painters in 19th Century American and British Women’s Literature.”

In this paper, Harms investigates novels in which the protagonists pursue and often receive pecuniary recompense for professionalizing the “feminine accomplishment” of painting. By creating characters of women painters who undermine the proscribed role of the domestic sphere, women authors are representing how the domestic sphere may be used as a place for work that can be financially rewarding for non-painters as well. The protagonists from these novels are mostly middle-class women, however, because work must begin with capital. Harms therefore also touches on the class limitations that prevent all women from pursuing the same means of autonomy through domestic professionalism.

Andrea J.M. Harms presents at 4:30 pm on Saturday March 3rd, 2012 in Heimbold Visual Arts Center.

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