Women’s Press
Canada’s leading academic feminist publisher
Canada’s leading academic feminist publisher

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256 pages
6 x 9 inches
August 2014
Print ISBN: 9780889615137


Becoming Girl interrogates the everyday of girlhood through the collaborative feminist methodology of collective biography. Located within the emergent interdisciplinary field of girlhood studies, this scholarly collection demonstrates how memories can be used to investigate the ways in which girlhood is culturally, historically, and socially constructed. Narrative vignettes of memory are produced and collaboratively investigated to explore relations of power, longing, and belonging, and to critically examine the ways in which girlhood is constituted. These are snapshot moments that, when analyzed, expose the social, embodied, and affective processes of “becoming girl,” making them visible in new ways. Incorporating the concepts of Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler, and Michel Foucault, the authors investigate food, popular culture, sexuality, difference, literacy, family photographs, and trauma.

Bringing together international and interdisciplinary girlhood scholars, this volume provides an innovative, inclusive, and collaborative method for understanding the relationship between the individual and the collective.

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Introduction: Girlhood Studies and Collective Biography – Marnina Gonick and Susanne Gannon

Section I: Methodology
Chapter 1: "Choir Practice" in Three Movements: Analyzing a Story of Girlhood through Deleuze, Butler, and Foucault – Susanne Gannon and Marnina Gonick
Chapter 2: Collective Biography and the Question of Difference – Marnina Gonick, Susan Walsh, and Marion Brown
Chapter 3: Deterritorializing Collective Biography – Susanne Gannon, Michele Byers, Mythili Rajiva, and Susan Walsh
Chapter 4: Things That Stay (and Things That Don’t): Temporality and Affect in Collective Memoriesof Sexuality, Bodies, and Girlhood – Michele Byers, Susanne Gannon, and Mythili Rajiva

Section II: Themes
Chapter 5: "Eating Subjects": Girlhood, Food, and Relations of Difference – Michele Byers and Mythili Rajiva
Chapter 6: Girls, Sexuality, and Popular Culture: "Hey Pony! Come On!" – Susanne Gannon, Michele Byers, and Marnina Gonick
Chapter 7: Trauma and the Girl – Mythili Rajiva
Chapter 8: Picture Me: Relations of Body, Image, and Subject in Collective Biography – Marion Brown and Susanne Gannon
Chapter 9: Ruptures in the Heterosexual Matrix through Teenage Flows and Multiplicities – Bronwyn Davies, Marnina Gonick, Kristina Gottschall, and Jo Lampert
Chapter 10: The Blank Page: Literacy, Girlhood, and Neoliberalism – Marnina Gonick
Chapter 11: From Workshop to Classroom: Collective Biography as Feminist Pedagogy – Michele Byers, with Caroline Brunet, Amanda Dickie, Stefanie Frisina, Daniel Gervais, Patrick Russell, and Janis Sampson

Contributor Biographies

Marnina Gonick

Marnina Gonick is Canada Research Chair in Gender at Mount Saint Vincent University. She is the author of Between Femininities: Identity, Ambivalence and the Education of Girls (2003) and co-author of Young Femininity: Girlhood, Power and Social Change (2004).

Susanne Gannon

Susanne Gannon is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. She is co-author of Place Pedagogy Change (2011) and Doing Collective Biography (2006).


Becoming Girl reorients and reimagines what it means to research the girl in girlhood studies through an innovative theoretical engagement with the collective biography method. This is a powerful collection that opens up the methodological imagination of what (else) feminist qualitative inquiry can do. Read this collection and become entangled with your own girling memories.
—  Emma Renold, Cardiff University, author of Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities (2005); Children, Sexuality and the Sexualisation of Culture (2014); and co-author of Stolen Becomings: Girls, Desire, and Sexuality (forthcoming).

Becoming Girl offers the first comprehensive account of the usefulness of collective biography for feminist research and its particular importance for girlhood studies. Across this set of insightful essays, collective biography emerges as a method with new potential for understanding what girlhood means to women and to girls, as an individual and collective experience and as a historical and contemporary representation.
—  Catherine Driscoll, University of Sydney, author of The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience (2014); Teen Film: A Critical Introduction (2011); Modernist Cultural Studies (2010); and Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory (2002).

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