Anti-monolithic research: transcending barriers between “East” and “West” in the history of sexuality
“Important scholarly work is emerging under the banner of “decentring Western sexualities” (Mizielinska/Kulpa). This work been inspired in part by postcolonial theory in creating a counterweight to Western-centric/Orientalist narratives of sexualities past and present. It has faced significant challenges due to the still emerging queer archive, in many places still in its infancy (to say nothing of the particular archiving practices of older state formations) but also due to the need to carefully negotiate a relationship to the corpus of queer historical work in the West. There is now talk of a “transnational turn” in queer historical scholarship. But what does it mean to do historical research that crosses this historically constructed East/West border? How does one negotiate archival imbalances across different geopolitical contexts? This paper will explore advantages and pitfalls of conducting archival research in both community and state archives in both (former) East and West contexts.”
Kate Davison is completing her PhD in Melbourne after living for many years in Berlin. She has been involved with the Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives for more than 10 years and currently holds the position of Vice-President. While in Berlin she undertook volunteer work with the Schwules Museum & Archiv. She previously worked at Museum Victoria on a pilot research project called the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Material Culture Survey, a join initiative between the museum, the State Library of Victoria, and the Lesbian & Gay Archives. Kate presented on this project at ALMS-Amsterdam in 2012.
The Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives
The Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives, established in 1978, is the oldest existing archive dedicated to the preservation of LGBT-relevant material, and is the only existing archive that does this on a national scale in Australia. It is run entirely by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis.
Kate will be speaking on day 2 of the conference