Leigh Gilmore
lgilmore@wellesley.edu
(781) 283-2145
Women's and Gender Studies
B.A., University of Washington; M.A., University of Washington; Ph.D., University of Washington
Founders 417A

Leigh Gilmore

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women's and Gender Studies

The author of numerous books and articles on autobiography, law and literature, and feminist theory.


Leigh Gilmore is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College and a scholar of life writing, contemporary literature, feminist theory, trauma, and cultural practices of judgment and testimony. Her most recent book, Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives (Columbia UP 2017), was the winner of a 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title award and has recently been reissued in paperback with a new preface about the #MeToo movement. As a scholar of autobiography, she is the author of the groundbreaking books, The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony (Cornell UP 2001) and Autobiographics: A Feminist Theory of Women’s Self-Representation (Cornell UP 1994), and the co-editor of Autobiography and Postmodernism (U Mass P 1994). She has published widely in scholarly journals, including Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Feminist Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Biography, Law and Literature, and Profession, and in numerous edited collections, including New Feminist Studies: Twenty-First Century Critical Interventions; Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels; Modern Confessional Writing: New Critical Essays; and Just Advocacy? Transnational Feminism, Women's Human Rights, and the Politics of Representation.

She has been Professor of English at The Ohio State University and Dorothy Cruikshank Backstrand Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at Scripps College, and has held visiting appointments at University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Santa Cruz, Northeastern University, Harvard Divinity School, and Brown University. She writes publicly for The Conversation and Cognoscenti about feminist topics and has appeared as a guest analyst of the #MeToo movement in national and international media.

A new book on how adult women use narratives of their own girlhoods in autobiographical literature from slave narratives to contemporary memoir, written with co-author with Elizabeth Marshall, Witnessing Girlhood: Toward an Intersectional Tradition of Life Writing will be published in September 2019. She is writing a book on the MeToo movement.

Her research and teaching interests are closely aligned. In Gilmore’s courses, students explore intersectional histories of gender, sexualities, and race in the 19th- 21st century, with a focus on first person narrative.