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Tani Barlow papers

Scope & content

This collection consists of the personal and professional papers of Tani Barlow, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of History and Director of the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University. The collection documents Barlow’s personal life and academic career and research interests of feminism, postcoloniality, and women’s history in Asia, specifically in China. The collection is composed of biographical materials, correspondence, teaching materials, files related to Barlow’s publications, conference papers, research files concerning the women’s movement in China, Chinese family structures, and “smut culture” in China, among various other subjects. The collection spans from 1957-2017 and is arranged into 14 series.

Series I, BIOGRPAHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1957-2017, highlights Tani Barlow’s biography and personal life. Materials include address books, calendars, correspondence regarding trips to China and the health and death of her husband Donald Lowe, diaries dating from 1981 to 2015, funerary files for her husband Donald Lowe, and photographs. Other materials that may be of particular interest to researchers include genealogical records connecting the Barlow family to Elkan C. Voorsanger and Golda Meir, Israeli Prime Minister from 1969 to 1974. This series is arranged alphabetically by record type then by topic.

Series II, CAREER DEVELOPMENT, 1974-2013, documents the progress of Tani Barlow’s professional career. Materials include application dossiers with resumes, letters of recommendation, syllabi, and other supporting documents; correspondence; undergraduate and graduate work such as notes and research papers; grant proposals; and promotion materials. This series is arranged alphabetically by record type.

Series III, ADMINISTRATIVE, 1983-2015, chronicles day-to-day activities conducted by Tani Barlow at several institutions including the Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University, San Francisco State University, and the University of Washington. Materials include correspondence, conference planning papers, meeting papers, and employee and student files. This series is arranged alphabetically by institution and then alphabetically by record type.

Series IV, CONFERENCES, 1978-2014, contains materials related to conferences attended by Tani Barlow in various capacities including attendee, presenter, and keynote speaker. Materials include itineraries, programs, correspondence, handwritten notes, and draft presentations and papers by Barlow and others. Papers and talks authored by Barlow are indicated as such. This series is arranged by the year the conference was held, then month (when available), and then by title of the conference.

Series V, TEACHING, 1978-2013, contains course materials for classes taught by Tani Barlow at several institutions including San Francisco State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Washington, and Rice University. One folder, “Intellectuals and Social Action (POLI 361/ ANTH 328-33/ HIST 290),” contains the syllabus for a class at which Barlow lectured on week two only. Materials include syllabi, lectures, assignment prompts, and course evaluations. This series is arranged alphabetically by course title.

Series VI, WRITINGS AND RELATED, 1977-2015, documents Barlow’s various writing projects including book projects, journal articles, translations, edited volumes, reviews of Barlow’s publications, and reviews of other articles and books written by Barlow, and lectures. The writing section also contains information about publishing, consisting of correspondence between Barlow and her publishers, as well as paperwork and financial records. Note that Barlow’s work for the Positions journal is located separately in its own series, as is her research and work for Modern Girl Around the World. Both of those series contain correspondence regarding the project, grant proposals and paperwork for funding, research, and writing drafts.

Series VII, POSITIONS JOURNAL, 1994-2010, documents Barlow’s work as the founder and three-term editor of Positions: Asia Critique. This series documents her editorial work at the journal from 1994 to 2010. Materials include book drafts, correspondence regarding manuscript submissions and reviews, issue drafts, and accepted manuscript drafts. This series is arranged alphabetically by record type.

Series VIII, MODERN GIRL AROUND THE WORLD, 2001-2015, contains files related to the Modern Girl Around the World research collaboration in University of Washington and The Modern Girl and Colonial Modernity in East Asia research group in Ochanomizu University. Barlow, along with scholars around the world, joined the initiative to examine how the Modern Girl emerged as a global phenomenon in the twentieth century and how it relates to globalization, consumerism and gendered modernity. Highlights of the series include research materials on cosmetic advertising, media presentation of Modern Girl in different countries, various workshops and conferences on the topic. The series also include edited volumes of the books published at the end of each research project. The series is arranged alphabetically by record type then by subject.

Series IX, RESEARCH, 1973-2015, contains annotated readings and articles, newspaper and magazine clippings regarding a variety of research topics. The series consists of two subseries: Research by author and Research by subject. The first subseries, Research by author, is arranged alphabetically by author’s last name and then by subject. The second subseries, Research by subject, is arranged alphabetically by topic. Highlights of the series include a substantial section on Ding Ling’s life and work, and the Women’s Movement in China in the 1900s. Researchers may also be interested in topics like “abortion and population”, smut culture and Chinese history in the twentieth century.

Series X, PRINT MATERIAL, 1941-2014, contains a small set of bound publications of particular interest to the Barlow collection. Items include a racist dime novel, “12 chinks” as well as rare journals such as “The Radical Historians” (Vol. 68. 70). Also included is a copy of City of God, with an annotation by Barlow noting that she first read the book at age twenty-three.

Series XI, OVERSIZE MATERIAL, 1992-2014, contains oversized drawings and posters dating from 1992 to 2014 and removed from throughout the collection. Materials include conference and lecture posters as well as hand-drawn notes regarding Claudius "C.B." Claiborne.

Series XII, ELECTRONIC RECORDS ON REMOVABLE CARRIERS, 1982-2013, contains digital files on nearly 400 removable carriers including audiocassettes, 3.5-inch disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, floppy disks and zip disks. The records include Barlow’s email correspondence, manuscripts, teaching and administrative materials, and writings. Electronic files are reformatted upon request for researchers interested in viewing files within this series.

Series XIII, DIGITAL RECORDS, 1980-2015, contains a curated set of born-digital records documenting Barlow's professional career. Items include correspondence, conference files, teaching material, drafts and other writings, special project files, and research. Barlow's digital files are stored on a computer located in the Special Collections Reading Room of the John Hay Library. Researchers should contact the John Hay reference staff for access to this series.

Series XIV, RESTRICTED MATERIAL, 1997-2012, contains restricted items pulled from throughout the collection. The series is arranged by record type, beginning with a diary from 1997 and then a diary from 1998. These diaries are closed until Barlow’s death, after which date these diaries will open without restrictions. Restricted materials also include personnel files, Positions Journal materials that consist of 76 folders of rejected manuscript submissions, financial files, and legal files. This series is closed until January 1, 2037, after which date this subseries will open without restrictions.