Out of the Closet, Into the Archives: Researching Sexual Histories (Suny Series in Queer Politics and Cultures)

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9781438459035: Out of the Closet, Into the Archives: Researching Sexual Histories (Suny Series in Queer Politics and Cultures)
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Finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Anthology presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation
Out of the Closet, Into the Archives takes readers inside the experience of how it feels to do queer archival research and queer research in the archive. The archive, much like the closet, exposes various levels of public and privateness--recognition, awareness, refusal, impulse, disclosure, framing, silence, cultural intelligibility--each mediated and determined through subjective insider/outsider ways of knowing. The contributors draw on their experiences conducting research in disciplines such as sociology, African American studies, English, communications, performance studies, anthropology, and women's and gender studies. These essays challenge scholars to engage with their affective experience of being in the archive, illuminating how the space of the archive requires a different kind of deeply personal, embodied research.

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From the Author:

"OCIA challenges scholars to engage with their affective experience of being in the archive. These chapters illustrate how archival research offers a profoundly queer temporal and tactile experience--and temporary existence--for scholars engaging in the study of queer lives and sexual histories. Authors question: how are our identities, research questions, and emotions determining, shaping, and puzzling the reading room's curiosities and discoveries? What do we think we know about the queer lives about which we write? Is "proof" even something the archive can offer? These connective tissues enable a conversation arc between authors to emerge, even as we acknowledge that the archive, much like the closet, exposes various fluctuating levels of publicness and privacy. Recognition, awareness, refusal, impulse, disclosure, framing, silence, and cultural intelligibility are each mediated and determined through insider/outsider ways of knowing. Differences in the visibility and disclosure of queer lives complicate the ways in which archives gather, assemble, and display materials relating to sexual identities. OCIA meditates on how queer archival scholarship transmits emotions alongside a host of compelling tensions--taking readers inside the experience of how it feels to do queer archival research and queer research in archives."
--Jaime Cantrell

From the Inside Flap:

"Like many of these writers, I was first seduced by LGBTQ archives because of the outsider status of collections such as the Lesbian Herstory Archives.  I came to them with a sense that there was much that was missing from conventional archives and records and that other kinds of institutions were needed in order to create renegade and insurgent forms of knowledge.  But Out of the Closet, Into the Archive suggests that, as distinctions between institutional archives and counterarchives grow increasingly blurry, the critique of the conventional archive that inspired the concept of "an archive of feelings" is no longer necessary in quite the same way.  The archive even as conventionally understood has been transformed by queer collections as well as by the creative methods of queer archival research.  The case histories provided here testify to the value of innovative collections and the imaginative uses to which scholars can put them." 
--Ann Cvetkovich, foreword

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9781438459042: Out of the Closet, Into the Archives: Researching Sexual Histories (SUNY series in Queer Politics and Cultures)

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ISBN 10:  1438459041 ISBN 13:  9781438459042
Publisher: SUNY Press, 2016
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