Department of Comparative Studies
451 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Road
Areas of Expertise
- Autobiographical narrative (written, graphic, visual)
- Autobiographical theory
- Women's writing (American, British, postcolonial)
- The "Great Books"
- Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
Professor Emerita and former Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, also affiliated with Project Narrative and Germanic Languages & Literatures.
I have published several books collaboratively with Sidonie Smith, most recently Life Writing in the Long Run: A Smith & Watson Autobiography Studies Reader (Michigan Publishing Services, 2017, available to read in open access, as well as print and e-book). We have also published Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives (University of Minnesota Press, 2nd. ed., 2010), and four collections: Before They Could Vote: American Women's Autobiographical Writing, 1819-1919 (2006); Interfaces: Women, Autobiography, Image, Performance (2002); Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader (1998); Getting a Life: Everyday Uses of Autobiography (1996); and De/Colonizing the Subject: The Politics of Gender in Women’s Autobiography (1992).
Our recent essays are "Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation." In Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, ed. Julie Rak and Anna Poletti. University of Wisconsin Press, 2013, 70-95; and “What about False Witnessing? The Limits of Authenticity and Verification.” In Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature, ed. Sophia McClennen and Ali Schultheis Moore, 2015, 243-51.
An essay on Charlotte Salomon and one on the frst Irish woman botanist, as well a memoir. My recent essays are on women’s graphic memoirs (Alison Bechdel, Bobby Baker, Parsua Bashi) and on Patti Smith’s Just Kids.