9:00-9:15 Welcome and introductions: Anne J. Gilliland, Professor, UCLA Department of Information Studies and Director, Center for Information as Evidence.
9:15-10:30 Opening keynote: Ann Cvetkovich, Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture, and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992); An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003); and Depression: A Public Feeling (Duke, 2012). She co-edited (with Ann Pellegrini) “Public Sentiments,” a special issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, and (with Janet Staiger and Ann Reynolds) Political Emotions (Routledge, 2010). She has been coeditor, with Annamarie Jagose, of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Her current writing projects focus on the current state of LGBTQ archives and the creative use of them by artists to create counterarchives and interventions in public history. Cvetkovich’s research interests related to archives include the impact of historical and theoretical critiques of the archive on archival practice and vice versa; the role of artists and activists as archivists and curators; what it means to queer conventional archives; the intersection of queer and indigenous alternative archival practices; testimony and archives of cultural memory and historical trauma; oral history, memoir, performance, and experimental media as archives of public feeling; affect and archives, or “the archive of feelings.”
Archival Turns and Queer Affective Methods.
The talk draws from my book in progress, which chronicles the recent proliferation of LGBTQ archives as a point of departure for a broader inquiry into the power of archives to transform public histories. The push for LGBTQ state recognition, civil rights, and cultural visibility has been accompanied by a desire for the archive – a claim that the recording and preservation of LGBTQ history is an epistemic right. Yet new LGBTQ archival projects must also respond to historical and theoretical critiques, including decolonizing ones, that represent archives as forms of epistemological domination and surveillance or as guided by an impossible desire for stable knowledge. I address these tensions through case histories of actual archives, as well as projects by artists whose creative and queer approaches to the archives are simultaneously critical and transformative. Today’s talk will focus on artists working in a range of genres, including drawing, painting, photography, and fiction, who create archives by moving from one medium to another. As experiments in archival preservation, these innovative media practices grapple with the materiality of the archive in order to reveal its ephemeral and affective dimensions.
Kathleen McHugh, chair and respondent, Professor, UCLA Department of English and Department of Film, Television and Digital Media (FTVD) Critical Studies Program.
10:30-10:45 Coffee break
10:45-12:30 Short papers: Dr. Teresa Barnett, commentator and chair, Head, Oral History Program, UCLA Library.
- Jamie A. Lee, Ph.D. candidate, School of Information Resources & Library Science and Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Arizona. Be/Longing in the Archival Body: Eros and the ‘Endearing’ Value of Material Lives.
This short paper will expand on my ongoing research to explore the archival body as temporally situated and yet also always in motion. The affective nature of archival productions follows the machinations of metamorphoses and, I suggest, (un)becoming—the simultaneous becoming and unbecoming—that is indicative of transdisciplinary logics and potentially reimagined archival approaches. As certain LGBTQ-identified peoples move through rights-based understandings of their acceptance in society and the nation-state as ‘proper’ citizens, the queer/ed archives embodies the struggling, shifting, and even further queering of those deemed ‘improper.’ In storytelling techniques, the force and function of the politics of respectability is palpable. Discursive self-regulation and normalizing techniques are affectively driven by the urgency to belong. Using Queer/ed and Transgender Archives as my sites of inquiry, I explore the erotic and affective nature of accessing the archival body in its multimodal forms. Although touching, smelling, and stroking what remains of distinct material lives might elucidate arousal and certain piqued, unnamed, and unknown affective and haptic responses within the visitor to the archives, the records themselves hold and cradle the records creators and their storytelling techniques along with their relationships to longing for and belonging in the archival body of knowledge. The record can be enriched by temporal perspectives that acknowledge distinct and diverse temporalities that can thus elicit generative understandings of even the normativized—what has become normal and normative through repetition and consent—progressions of time, everyday rhythms, and those markers that the traditional archival records might embody.
- Michelle Caswell, Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Information Studies. From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in the Archives.
Archival studies has assumed a legalistic, rights-based framework to delineate the role of records, archives, and archivists in violating or adjudicating basic universal human rights. Yet decades of feminist scholarship has called into question the universality of rights-based frameworks, advocating instead for an “ethics of care” that stresses the ways people are linked to each other and larger communities through webs of responsibilities. This feminist approach to ethics emphasizes context over abstract moral principles; rejects the tropes of individual choice and free will in favor of empathy in the face of situational demands; and draws to the fore women’s lived experiences as care givers. As opposed to a human rights framework that endows individuals with universal and inalienable rights and punishes the violators of such rights, a feminist framework posits interlacing and ongoing relationships of mutual obligation that are wholly dependent on culture and context.
How would the archival conversation shift if we abandoned the rights-based model in favor of a feminist ethics of care? What happens when we begin to think of record keepers and archivists less as enforcers or violators of human rights, but as care givers, bound to records creators, subjects, and users through a web of mutual responsibility? What are the consequences of replacing the abstract legal and moral obligations of archivists (as heretofore conceived through scholarship and professional codes of ethics) with radical empathy? The proposed paper explores these questions with an emphasis on affect as a formerly feminized—and overlooked—aspect of archival ethics.
- Anne J. Gilliland, Professor, UCLA Department of Information Studies and Director, Center for Information as Evidence. The King is Naked! The Impact of Trauma, Loss and Disenchantment upon Archivists and Archival Agency in the Former SFRY.
The impact of personal affect upon individual archivists’ sense of professional agency, situational ethics and commitment to shift the status quo is insufficiently acknowledged and remains poorly understood within archival studies. This paper will discuss the affects associated with trauma, loss and disenchantment and their impact upon archivists and their sense of archival agency in the post-communist and post-conflict countries of Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Serbia that emerged out of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Specifically, the paper will contemplate stories and themes emerging from the author’s current fieldwork in light of those surfaced by a growing body of literature generated from within social and sociocultural anthropology, psychology, philosophy, law and affect studies, among other fields, that addresses the nature of affect, especially trauma, and how it is experienced in and over time by those who have lived through conflicts and their aftermath. The latter themes include the affective interplay between history, memory and place; the role of narrative; the importance of social support and of integrating the social and the cultural; the interpretation of meaningful silences; the nature of coping mechanisms; and disenchantment with the state.
- Michael Wartenbe, Ph.D. candidate, UCLA Department of Information Studies. Affective Labor and Archives.
The notion of “affective labor,” as popularized most notably by Hardt and Negri (2001, 2005, 2009), has gained purchase within critical academic communities as a useful concept for describing the role of helping activities within economic production. This labor is often domestic and service oriented, and as such, constitutes tasks traditionally thought to be the purview of women and non-white workers. Because their affective labor is not directly valuated by a wage or other trade conversion, their activities, like nourishing, bathing, consoling, grooming, homemaking, have not typically considered work in the truest sense. Fortunati (1996), among others, draws attention to the vital role of affective work in traditional families in reproducing capitalism, by caring for male laborers and birthing and raising children to be conscientious citizens and workers. Such analysis has served as the grounds for demanding the compulsory monetary compensation of non-employed mothers and other domestic caretakers, such as Selma James’ International Wages for Housework Campaign.
This same type of labor can seen to be manifest, in fact, as a fundamental aspect of contemporary political economy, where the manipulation of affects is a central activity of most service or media business practices, as well as a primary concern of political strategists. As such, some might understand the incorporation of homemaking into the bureaucratic structure of the state management of capitalism to be merely the subsuming of another element of personal expression into the wage system. In general, this raises the question of why, how and to what degree archives ought to engage with affect. Aside from the fact that archives undoubtedly are filled with latent and invisible affects in the form of memories and untold stories, the profession itself is itself a paradigmatic example of affective labor, such as it is concerned with the sustenance of collective memory from destruction and degradation. This paper attempts to begin to grapple with the politics of affective labor in archives.
12:30-1:30 Lunch with breakout groups: Roderic Crooks, Mario Ramirez and L Wynholds, Ph.D. students, UCLA Department of Information Studies, leaders.
1:30-2:30 Keynote speaker: Hariz Halilovich, Reader, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), Monash University. Born in Srebrenica in 1970, Dr Hariz Halilovich, an award-winning anthropologist and author, is an Associate Professor at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. As a socially engaged genocide scholar and human rights activist, Hariz has widely written about the issues of genocide in Bosnia and the long-term effects of politically motivated violence on individuals, families and communities. His current research project ‘Recognizing the pain of others: gendered displacement, memory and identity in Bosnian refugee diaspora’ explores experiences of Bosnian war widows in three diaspora contexts: in the USA, Europe and Australia. In addition to his academic work, Hariz also regularly publishes opinion pieces and commentaries in the independent magazine BH Dani (Sarajevo) and Belgrade-based Pescanik and E-novine, while his articles and interviews on genocide, social memory of violence and human rights have appeared in various international media outlets, including Open Democracy, Transitions Online, The Times (London), Green Left Review, The Australian, Pogrom as well as on the CNN, Al Jazeera, SBS and ABC. His award-winning book Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities was published by Berghahn: Oxford-New York (2013).
Re-imaging the past after ‘memoricide’: archives as inscribed memories one’s existence.
1) The sun was obscured by the smoke of books; all over the city sheets of burned paper, fragile pages of grey ashes, floated down like a dirty black snow. Catching a page you could feel its heat, and for a moment read a fragment of text in a strange kind of black and grey negative, until, as the heat dissipated, the page melted to dust in your hand. – This is how Kemal Bakaršić, a librarian of Bosnia’s National Museum, described burning of the National and University Library – Vijećnica, set on fire by the Serb artillery surrounding Sarajevo on 25 August 1992.
2) Stana Zahović, a Sarajevan who lived near Vijećnica before the war but was a refugee in Germany when the library was burned down, recalls the destruction of Vijećnica as vividly as if she had actually been there on the day. She ‘remembers’ a countless number of burning books and the flames and smoke reaching close to my house… I felt all my life and the lives of everyone I knew went up in smoke… and I couldn’t stop crying. In reality, Stana watched the burning library on television in Germany. However, the sense of personal loss made her adopt the image of – and the emotional reaction to – the burningVijećnica as it would have been seen from her own house in Sarajevo.
3) In 2009, the Srebrenica survivors felt robbed of their pieces of memories, when they learned that the officials at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had destroyed documentary evidence recovered from the mass graves of the Srebrenica genocide, comprising some 1000 pieces of identification, photographs, personal items and articles of clothing belonging to the victims found in the graves. As a reaction, ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’ and other survivors’ associations staged protests in front of the ICTY in The Hague, demanding a resignation of the ICTY Chief Prosecutor.
To the genocide survivors and other victims of ‘memoricide’ in Bosnia, the destruction of documents, photographs, books and official records has been deeply felt as a very personal loss, an aggravated trauma and a metaphor for annihilation of the material evidence of their personal, family and communal existence. Hence, for them, the recreation of personal records and communal archives ultimately becomes an attempt to reclaim and reconstruct their shattered lives and serves as a crucial step in healing and reconciliation process.
By discussing a series of ethnographic vignettes from Bosnia and the Bosnian refugee diaspora – as an example of a post-conflict society – I highlight the relationship between survivors’ emotional (and embodied) attachment to various forms of archival material and the potential of memory and archival research to actively engage in advancing the human rights cause and contribute to truth finding, transitional justice and reconciliation in post-conflict and post-genocide communities.
Susan Slyomovics, commentator and chair, Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, UCLA.
2:30-3:15 Short papers: Dr. Andrew J Lau, Program Director, Instructional Content Development, UCLA University Extension, chair.
- Kathy Carbone, Institute Archivist, Performing Arts Librarian, and Faculty, The Herb Alpert School of Music, California Institute of the Arts; Ph.D. pre-candidate, UCLA Department of Information Studies. Artists in the Archive: Feeling, Recasting, and Performing the Archival Record.
In March 2013, visual artist Garrick Imatani and poet Kaia Sand were selected for the inaugural City of Portland Archives & Record Center’s Artist-in-Residence program in Portland, Oregon, through an award of a public art project by Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council. The artist residency is the first in a series for this archive, with the goal of artists creating work in any media that engages and/or is a result of working with the archive’s collections and archivists. Since January 2013, I have been conducting an exploratory ethnographic study of this residency program that traces (1) the origins of and motivations behind the program and, (2) the experiences and actions of the artists and archivists within the residency. For this short paper I will discuss several components of my study where instances of the use of and affective responses to archival records inspire the creation of works of poetry and art as well as foster relationships between records, people, places, and events in unpredictable, generative, and community building ways. The work evolving out of this artist-in-residence program is showing how records can be active energetic forces that evoke intellectual, emotional, and creative responses; channel human connection and action; and, provide sensory, aesthetic, and affective experiences in a variety of contexts.
- Vivian Wong, Ph.D. candidate, UCLA Department of Information Studies. Crafting Sisterhood: Hand-making an Archive of Care in Collegiate Life.
Crafting is alive and well, active with meaning and purpose, for the sorority sisters of Alpha Omega Beta (AOB or Alpha Omega [pseudonym]) in the 21st Century. It has persisted and prevailed as (re)sources rich in cultural value and steeped in organizational pride and tradition for modern-day Alpha Omegas, undergraduates at one of the premiere public university systems in the United States. AOB crafting has a reputation and status bar none, and befitting the student group’s history as among the oldest Asian American sorority in the nation established prior to World War II.
This paper will explore the “crafty-lives” of the sorority sisters of AOB, re-thinking and re-conceptualizing the personal politics and practices of belonging for young Asian American women of today as college students in their campus social lives. AOB handcrafts persist and prevail as collective endeavors of affect/ion––labor intensive, mass produced, assembly line crafted “archives” of personalized feats of feelings. They are the embodied performances of sentiments and sympathies, marking and making the close-knit kinship of the AOB sisterhood visual and visible demonstrations of the ways in Alpha Omegas ‘got love’ for each other.
Sara Ahmed writes: “Affect is what sticks, or what sustains or preserves the connection between ideas, values, and object” (Ahmed, 2010). AOB sorority sisters craft to great affect, animating their sisterhood with “crafty-crafts”––handmade objects that demonstrate the sorority’s pride and (human) power to do-it-themselves as they exchange and transfer knowledge/know-how, making things for each other and those in their Asian Greek social network.
3:15-3:30 Coffee break
3:30-4:30 Short papers: Robb Hernandez, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of California, Riverside, Chair.
- Marika Cifor, Ph.D. pre-candidate, UCLA Department of Information Studies. Harvey Milk’s Ponytail: The Affect of Intimacy in the Queer Archives.
In my hands I hold the thick, rich brown locks of gay icon Harvey Milk’s ponytail. This ponytail waits to be processed in a carton alongside the stained and ragged remnants of Milk’s clothing worn the day he was shot—an undershirt, boxers, and handkerchief—as well as other intimate artifacts saved by his partner, Scott Smith, and donated to the GLBT Historical Society. I feel in that moment the intoxicating affective mixture of surprise, unease, pleasure, and intimacy that marks moments of archival discovery amidst the tedium of daily archival labors. Intimacy, emotional, intellectual, and physical, is central to every aspect of queer lives from the bedroom to the archives. Intimacy is the visceral force, the affect that brings and sticks queer bodies together to build communities, identities, stories, and futures, however it remains largely unexamined in the archival context. This paper draws on affect theory to examine the affect of intimacy in queer lives, archives, and archival labors by focusing in on slippery presences of queer bodies in the queer archives. I make an argument for recognizing and developing “radical archive of emotion” (Cvetkovich, 2003) and a queer archiving practice that centers the affective in order to ensure that “complex, contradictory and non-normative histories have their place in society’s record.” (Lee, forthcoming). I look first at possibilities for capturing intimacy in the archives by reexamining the archival traces of queer intimacies already present in the archives. The, often overlooked the material traces of queer bodies from Greta Garbo’s foot (Deaver, 2010) to Harvey Milk’s ponytail, allow for the reexamination of how intimacy is experienced, what material traces it makes, and its afterlife in the archives. Second, I explore the roles of intimacy as a key affect in archival labors. There is a deep desire for and meaningful experience of intimacy with the subjects of our research. Touching the body—the hair, the blood, the sweat—and other intimate (and sometimes abject) objects in the archives calls needed attention to the role of archives and artifacts in the transmission of affect, to the permeable boundaries between the researcher and subject, and to the formation of queer connections across time and space. The intimacies of the archivist with creators and collections and the power and privilege of those labors are also explored through a closer look at intimacy and affect in archival description. Intimacies and bodies are often absent and erased in archival descriptions through sanitary efforts, benign neglect, or professional pressures. Examples ranging from my description of Grethe Cammermeyer’s hate mail at the Mazer to the dismissal of gay leathermen’s yellowed perspiration stains of at the ONE Archives point to the places where archivists conformity to archival norms in description, though necessary at times, can also be treacherous to queer lives and their affects. It is high time to reopen the Hollinger box. Opening the archives to intimacy as evidence, and to the stories it tells as well as the possibilities for the future it opens up, allows for an understanding of the archives that is always queer and always becoming.
- Stacy Wood, Ph.D. pre-candidate, UCLA Department of Information Studies. Bodily Matter: Affective Gadgets as Spy Memorabilia.
For the better part of 2013, an exhibit entitled SPY: The Secret World of Espionage was hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. With materials culled from the archives of the CIA, FBI, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Foreign Excellent Trenchcoat Society, the exhibit featured three hundred artifacts and documents in a 12,000 square foot interactive space. Accompanied by an additional exhibit focusing on memorabilia from James Bond films, the exhibit took on a fictive quality through its focus on narrative and display. Each artifact and document was activated within a scene, accompanied by a short burst of description contained on an explanatory plaque. The exhibition was peppered with objects artifacts that through their use captured voice, transmitted identity documents, and caused fatalities. Chosen for their shock value as much as their historical import, these artifacts become the vehicles for and producers of affective traces. Included in the exhibition is the icepick used to kill Leon Trotsky, displayed suspended above a skull for emphasis. Affects persist and make themselves known within these artifacts and the physical remains, or the “bodily matter” (Clough, 2008), ferries information that overruns what can be expressed or contained in linguistic or symbolic systems. This paper will explore the affective remains housed within this museum exhibit, its contradictions and dissonances. Intelligence work often relies on the manipulation of senses and involuntary cues, but the artifacts of deception betray these manipulations.
- David Kim, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Digital Learning and Research, Occidental College. “The Truth is Out There As Documented Here:” International UFO Museum and Research Center.
The cultural phenomenon of UFOs and extraterrestrial existence has been one of the mainstays of U.S popular culture since its emergence following the Second World War, generating many iconic films and tv shows, as well as an entire sub/fan culture that has been organized through prolific independent researchers and investigative collectives, national and local membership chapters, and numerous media outlets from AM radio programs to web-based forums. While ufology, as the term of recognition for this body of knowledge and endeavor, attends mainly to the forensic veracity of the claims of extraterrestrial objects, the paranormal studies in academic discussions has instead explored the composition of its subjects in their various relations to the political discourse of the real, and how these relations have become recognizable through media as the anti-government paranoid, the new age scientist, the dissident futurist, etc. Based on several site visits to the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico, this paper theorizes the unidentified object as a kind of “boundary object” whose speculative existence invites various modes of participation in particularly affective terms. It first offers an analysis of the Museum’s permanent exhibit that relies on affective modes of making sense when it cannot speak with evidential authority. Then, through the practice of reading along the archival grain, I analyze the arrangement of the Museum’s archival collections (ex. organizing documents of personal testimonies by the scale of “close encounters of the first kind” all the way to the “fourth kind”) to highlight the importance of understanding both the phenomenological and the ordinariness of the archive’s task of making sense in order to critically de-sensationalize the category of feeling in its relation to the notions of evidential and historical value in archival studies.
4:30-5:00 Wrap up and reporting back from lunchtime breakout groups: Anne J. Gilliland and Marika Cifor, chairs.