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Seminar 8: Queer Archival Immersion: Rhetoric, Performance, Pedagogy, and Politics at the Kinsey Institute

Seminar Leaders:

E. Cram, University of Iowa
Charles Morris, Syracuse University
Eric Darnell Pritchard, University of Illinois
K.J. Rawson, College of the Holy Cross
Jennifer Tyburczy, University of California, Santa Barbara

Rhetoricians historically have been among those on the interdisciplinary vanguard of the archival turn, while being much slower in responding to the queer turn in the academy and the discipline. Indeed, it is fair to say that RSA is still in need of some queering. The site of the archive may offer a particularly hospitable and productive location and means of such ongoing intervention. That the archive is simultaneously of passionate interest, apparently never waning interest, to queer scholars (the dilemma of the past seems inherently queer), only deepens the prospects of staging such a queer archival encounter. In the introduction to their Fall 2014 special issue, “Queering Archives: Historical Unravelings,” in Radical History Review, guest editors Daniel Marshall, Kevin P. Murphy, and Zeb Tortorici write, “Insofar as the archive serves as site for historical accumulation, visitation, and recognition, it has become an exemplary space for academic, activist, and community contests over the proper or desirable boundaries of sex, gender, and knowledge” (2).

This seminar brings together five queer scholars to facilitate this archival encounter at the world famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.  Among the issues we hope to explore during this queer embodied experience of sex and sexuality in the archive include: the labor and rhetorics of archival practices; rethinking historical method vis-à-vis the turn to the “field”; performance, movement, space; affect, sensation, and material culture; rhetorical activism and “community-accountable” scholarship; immersion pedagogy and rhetorical education in institutional and extra-institutional settings; and critiques of the Kinsey Institute’s operations, past and present.

The seminar will take place in the Kinsey Institute and seminar leaders are currently working with the directors of the Institute to finalize terms of access to the Kinsey’s considerable archive. Our intent is to “do” queer archive theory, criticism, performance, and engagement of holdings during the course of the seminar. An assemblage of relevant readings will be assigned in advance of the seminar but our preliminary thinking would include works by Jonathon Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes, E. Cram, Ann Cvetkovich, Mathias Danbold, Jane Rowley, and Louise Wolthers, Roderick Ferguson, Alexis Gumbs, Jose Esteban Munoz, K. J. Rawson, Jennifer Tyburczy, and others.

 Questions should be directed to Charles Morris, cemorris@syr.edu


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