Speculative Biography and Countering Archival Absences of Women Clowns in the Circus

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Abstract


My biographical research on Loretta La Pearl, the first woman clown in America, is a case study of responding to the incomplete and biased nature of archives for women. Through my lens as a creative practitioner, I use the methodology of speculative biography as a means of countering the official archival gaps in Loretta’s story by re-deploying self-made archives of other circus women. I discuss the challenges of fragmentary records, speculation, authorial sympathy and intersectionality. In drawing on these creative methodologies, I am countering the incompleteness of circus archives and making visible the otherwise largely erased life of the first woman clown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalLife Writing
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Speculative biography
  • women's history
  • archival erasure
  • archives
  • women clowns
  • circus history

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