Call for proposals: Queering Archives special issue of the Radical History Review

Queering Archives

Call for Proposals, due February 1, 2013

Editors: Daniel Marshall, Zeb Tortorici, and Kevin Murphy

This issue of Radical History Review reflects on the notion of the “archive” that has been radically opened up by activists, archivists, and scholars. Beginning with feminist and postcolonial critiques of institutional and bureaucratic consolidations of power, what has come to be called the “queer archive” has emerged from those who both collect new materials and critique existing historical materials across varied modes of public memory work. On the one hand, these include institutional libraries with LGBT/queer collections (e.g. Cornell University’s Human Sexuality Collection and the New York Public Library’s Gay and Lesbian Collection), grassroots community-based archives (e.g. the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the Lesbian Herstory Archives), and queer archives of trauma and of the emotions. On the other hand, they include the recent critical and interpretive practice of “queering” colonial and national archives for multiple queer contents (and absences). While archives as places are distinct from the critical act of queering an archive, both endeavors are often characterized by preoccupations with the notion of in/visibility, the identification of LGBT/queer practices, and the question of the LGBT/queer historical and archival subject.

We are thus interested in how some queer archival narratives privilege models of historical subject recovery, such that they purport to recuperate (and define) particular voices and subjectivities of the past. In doing so, do such practices reassert traditional notions of archival authority? How have postcolonial and queer critiques of the archive and archival practice sought to alter the idiom through which the subjects of the archive are constructed? While avoiding simplistic laudatory readings of LGBT/queer archive formation, we aim to historicize the complications, omissions, and racial/gendered/class implications of queer archival engagements (as well as the ways in which some historians, archivists, and queer archival practices struggle against such phenomena).

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• Archival knowledge and LGBT/queer political campaigns.

• Archives as sites for reading political contests in histories of sexuality and gender (e.g. the Sex Wars, decolonization, anti-capitalism, the War on Terror).

• The archive’s performance of an educational role, including the ideas of public history and public pedagogy.

• The ways that scholars have sought to “queer” mainstream, national, state, municipal, judicial, and colonial archives.

• Personal and critical reflections on being “in” an archive (as part of the collection, archivist, volunteer, researcher, etc.).

• How archives sustain or attenuate particular activist, affective, intellectual and/or kinship relationships.

• Archival work as a site for enabling intergenerational collaboration and coalitionist work, understood broadly.

• The ways in which archives have interacted with and influenced the development of academic fields of research regarding sexuality, gender and history.

• Different modes or genres of archiving and public memory work.

• Innovations in archiving that have been generated by LGBT-specific public memory work, including the ways in which this work has built on, departed from or influenced mainstream practices (e.g. queer oral history methodologies).

• How LGBT/queer archives challenge (or affirm) prevailing notions of whose material ought to be collected, and what types of material ought to be collected.

• “Archival homonormativity” and erasures, in terms of language, ethnicity, race, (trans)gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and class.

The Radical History Review features scholarly research articles, but will also consider photo essays, film and book review essays, interviews, reflections, interventions, essays on public history activities, teaching materials, archival field-notes, and “conversations” between different interested parties such as community historians and academics, users of archives, archive volunteers, and older/younger generations of people involved in archive communities.

At this time we are requesting abstracts that are no longer than 400 words; these are due by February 1, 2013 and should be submitted electronically as an attachment to with “Issue 120 submission” in the subject line. By March 1, 2013, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article to undergo the peer review process. The due date for completed drafts of articles will be July 1, 2013. An invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication; publication depends on the peer review process and the overall shape the journal issue will take.

Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word or rich text document along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to send high-resolution image files (jpg or tif files at a minimum of 300 dpi), and secure written permission to reprint all images.

Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 120 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in fall 2014.

For preliminary e-mail inquiries, please include “Issue 120” in the subject line.

Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2013

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