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Queer Archives – Queer Entanglements

The humanities and specifically marginalised forms of knowledge production such as femi-

nist, postcolonial and queer theories have always been concerned with negative affects in

relation to documents of the past – more often than not the result of exclusionary practices.

While official archives often commemorate hegemonic stories, ever more forms of al-

ternative archiving, oral history projects, online sources and artistic practices provide less

straightforward histories which emphasise entangled rather than officially sanctioned nation­

al histories.

Queer theory, from its activist and academic outset in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has

been concerned with forms of re-appropriation, as in the use of the derogatory term ‘queer’

itself, and the scandalising of ungrievable death in the AIDS activism of Act Up. In this work­

ing group, we will look at queer or messy ways of making sense of the past and how this

might translate into archives and memorial cultures in the present. We will pay special atten-

tion to those archives that might induce negative feelings, such as the history of the transat-

lantic slave trade or dissident sexualities.

Introducing students to more general concepts of the archive, the course will interrogate

different epistemological and methodological approaches in queer theory of reading docu-

ments of the past but also look at contemporary artistic appropriations and challenges posed

by new forms of digital archiving. Discussing a number of artistic, literary and media repre-

sentations, we will explore new forms of archival methodologies and queer knowledge pro-

duction that might embrace negative affects, the speculative and artistic forms of archiving,

including concepts such as queer reparative readings, postcolonial entangled histories or

histoire croisée

and auto-ethnography.

Prof. Dr. Elahe Haschemi Yekani

Seminar für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Flensburg

Prof. Dr. Tavia Nyong’o

Theater Studies, Yale University / USA

Studierende der Geistes- und Kunstwissenschaften, insbesondere der Anglistik, der

Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaften sowie der Theaterwissenschaften


ab dem 5. Semester und Doktoranden


20. August bis 2. September 2017