Queer and Feminist Archival Practices

Faculty: Rebecka Sheffield


This week-long course will explore queer/feminist archival practices, from the analogue collecting of the 1970s to the digital memory work underway today. Traditional heteronormative patriarchal archives continually overlook, disregard, and even erase the contributions of 2SLGBTQ+ people. Yet, 2SLGBTQ+ people have always found ways to participate in memory work both within and outside of this traditional system. In this course, we will consider how this marginalization has allowed 2SLGBTQ+ people to operate against the grain of archival science. Participants will learn research techniques for uncovering and reclaiming 2SLGBTQ+ histories from within traditional archives. We will then look at how 2SLGBTQ+ people have adopted and adapted archival methods to create their own archives. Whether collecting t-shirts. pin buttons, and protest signs or designing walking tours or curating tumblr feeds, these queer/feminist archival practices can be therapeutic, restorative, and transformational. A portion of this class will be dedicated to discussions about how queer/feminist archival practices have influenced contemporary archival science. Participants are encouraged to bring their own archival projects to the class to share and learn from one another. Field trips to local area archives will provide a hands-on look at queer/feminist archiving in practice.

Requirements: This course is intended for those with an interest in 2SLGBTQ+ cultural production, community archives, and public history. Librarians, archivists, graduate students, and community memory workers are encouraged to take the course. Participants are asked to bring a laptop for use in a course project.

This course will include field trips to two off-site location, the One Gay and Lesbian Archives (TBC) and the Tom of Finland House (TBC), as well as a visit to UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library. Each location is accessible, but students should contact the instructor if there are concerns about mobility or transportation.