Eileen Razzari Elrod

Professor, English and Women’s & Gender Studies

Phone: (408) 554-4136

Current Work

I look at the way gender intersects with religion and race in early American writing, particularly in autobiographical texts by women and writers of color.

I’m particularly interested in the way marginalized writers construct narratives of authority and identity in traditions that both exclude and empower them. Most recently I have been writing about the author of an eighteenth-century bestseller—Susanna Rowson (creator of the beloved Charlotte Temple, a novel read by, well, nearly everybody in Rowson’s historical moment). Rowson’s important seduction novel is well known to scholars and historians and undergraduate English majors. Her other work is just now being looked at carefully, and it’s fascinating. I’ve recently written about how she represents slavery in the context of religion across a number of genres.

And I’m currently looking at her educational texts and how they create questions of identity for her readers and her subjects. My next project, on Rowson’s pedagogy, will allow me to integrate my longstanding scholarly interests with my new work in faculty development.

Representative Publications

“Geography, Gender, and Slavery: The Other Rowson, Rowson’s Others.” Studies in American Fiction, (Special Issue: Beyond Charlotte Temple: New Approaches to Susanna Rowson.) 38.1&2 (2011): 163-184.

“Phillis Wheatley’s Abolitionist Text: The 1834 Edition.” in Imagining Transatlantic Slavery and Abolition. Cora Kaplan and John Oldfield, Eds. Palgrave/Macmillan. 2010. 96-109.

“Harriet Wilson and the White Reader: Authority and Audience in Our Nig.” Prospects: An Annual Journal of American Cultural Studies 24 (1999): 297-310.

“Rebellion, Restraint, and New England Religion: The Ambivalent Feminism of Mary Wilkins Freeman.”Studies In Puritan American Spirituality 6 (1997): 225-264.

“Truth is Stranger than Non-Fiction: Gender, Religion, and Contradiction in the Works of Rose Terry Cooke.”Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 13 (1996): 113-129.

“‘Exactly Like My Father’: Feminist Hermeneutics in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Non-Fiction.” Journal Of The American Academy of Religion 63 (1995): 695-719.