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Dr Lilith Acadia

The Trinity Long Room Hub is delighted to welcome Dr Lilith Acadia from the University of California, Berkeley as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Fellow for 2019–20, in association with Trinity’s Identities in Transformation Research Theme.

An assistant professor of Intellectual Breadth at the University of Michigan–Jiao Tong Joint Institute, Lilith Acadia holds a PhD in Rhetoric from the University of California Berkeley. Centring around pretext, a discursive device for obscuring information and manipulating audiences, Lilith’s research engages literary and historical texts to understand the modern genealogy of naturalised concepts such as ‘religion’ and sexuality.

During the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND fellowship at the Trinity Long Room Hub, Lilith will focus on ‘A Northampton Marriage: Discursive Construction and Concealment of a Queer Relationship.’ Reading the papers of prominent novelist Mary Ellen Chase and religion scholar Eleanor Shipley Duckett, who lived together from 1935-1973, reveals a discourse around identity construction of female intellectuals and women who love women, in which religion, career, and female friendship serve as pretexts to veil the women’s romantic relationship. The case provides a rich text through which to read the emerging identity category of transnational same-sex relationships in the mid-twentieth century US, and trace the roots of subsequent discourses around a range of sexual identities. This project received generous support for archival research from the Maine Women Writers Collection and Northeast Modern Language Association.


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