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Archivist Genna Duplisea presents public lecture on legendary ‘Queen of the Desert,’ Gertrude Bell

Salve Regina University’s archivist and special collections librarian Genna Duplisea will present a public talk on “Gender and Empire: Gertrude Bell in the Middle East” on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. in McKillop Library. Free and open to the public, the presentation will be given in Room 109.

Known as the “Queen of the Desert,” Gertrude Bell was an archaeologist, explorer, spy and imperial administrator considered a trailblazer for women’s involvement in discovery in the 20th century. Underneath her remarkable achievements, however, was a system of cultural interaction and knowledge production that served the interests of the British Empire.

Rather than frame the upper-class and anti-suffragist Bell as a gender warrior or a radical, Duplisea will examine Bell’s career as a woman imperialist. Duplisea presented her abstract, “Writing in the Masculine: Gertrude Lowthian Bell, Gender and Empire” at the Society for the History of Discoveries Annual Meeting.

Duplisea, MSLIS, MA, is a recent graduate of the Simmons College dual-Master’s program in Archives Management and History, where her research focused on cross-cultural encounters, gender, and the relationship between knowledge production and power.