Honors College Thesis


"These Machines are Alive": An Oral History Exploration of Women Letterpress Printers of the West Coast Public Deposited

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  • This project analyzes how women have radically changed the world of western print in the 21st century. To conduct this analysis, I examine a series of oral history interviews that I conducted in 2020 with women printers on the West Coast and employ a critical feminist methodology to study the thematic patterns of those interviews. I then put these thematic analyses in conversation with the history of print in America and Europe, comparing modern print culture with the print communities of the past, in which women were largely excluded. The results of these analyses indicate that women have shifted the culture of the print world in radical ways, specifically regarding the operator-machine relationship, as well as the sociopolitical and socioeconomic dynamics of the print community. Since women have asserted themselves in the print world, the community has experienced a drastic shift away from the exclusive and possessive tendencies of the past, and towards those of inclusion and collaboration. These trends speak to a larger generational interest in anti-capitalist alternatives in our late-stage capitalist world.
  • Keywords: Letterpress, Printing, Print History, Feminist, Oral History
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  • Thank you to the DeLoach Foundation for their funding.
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