Out of the Closet, Into the Archives

Researching Sexual Histories

Edited by Amy L. Stone & Jaime Cantrell

Subjects: Queer Studies, Lesbian / Gay Studies, American History, Women's Studies, Gender Studies
Series: SUNY series in Queer Politics and Cultures
Paperback : 9781438459042, 372 pages, July 2016
Hardcover : 9781438459035, 372 pages, December 2015

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Ann Cvetkovich


Introduction: Something Queer at the Archive
Amy L. Stone and Jaime Cantrell


1. Making a Place for Lesbian Life at the Lesbian Herstory Archives
Agatha Beins

2. Secrets in Boxes: The Historian as Archivist
Craig M. Loftin

3. Papered Over, or Some Observations on Materiality and Archival Method
Maryanne Dever


4. Elsa Gidlow’s Garden: Plants, Archives, and Queer History
Greg Youmans
5. Indexing Desire: The Gay Male Pornographic Video Collection as Affective Archive
Whitney Strub

6. Feverishly Lesbian-Feminist: Archival Objects and Queer Desires
Julie R. Enszer


7. Straight Talk, Queer Haunt: The Paranormal Activity of the Chicano Art Movement
Robb Hernández

8. Victory Celebration for Essex Charles Hemphill; or, What Essex Saved
Rebecca Lynne Fullan

9. Interrogating Trans* Identities in the Archives
Liam Oliver Lair

10. Putting Trans* History on the Shelves: The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, Canada
Aaron H. Devor and Lara Wilson


11. Autobiographical Text, Archives, and Activism: The Jane Rule Fonds and Her Unpublished Memoir,Taking My Life
Linda M. Morra

12. Interviewing Hustlers: Cross-Class Relations, Sexual Self-Documentation, and the Erotics of Queer Archives
Yuriy Zikratyy

13. SUBSCRIBE to Feminary! Producing Community, Region, and Archive
Jaime Cantrell


The first book to focus on the experience of LGBT archival research.


Finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Anthology presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation

Out of the Closet, Into the Archives takes readers inside the experience of how it feels to do queer archival research and queer research in the archive. The archive, much like the closet, exposes various levels of public and privateness—recognition, awareness, refusal, impulse, disclosure, framing, silence, cultural intelligibility—each mediated and determined through subjective insider/outsider ways of knowing. The contributors draw on their experiences conducting research in disciplines such as sociology, African American studies, English, communications, performance studies, anthropology, and women's and gender studies. These essays challenge scholars to engage with their affective experience of being in the archive, illuminating how the space of the archive requires a different kind of deeply personal, embodied research.

"Out of the Closet, Into the Archives represents the exciting directions for scholarship enabled by this rapid growth of new LGBTQ archives. Although mindful of critiques of the archive as an institution of power and attentive to experiences and ephemeralities that can escape it, the essays published here practice forms of the archival turn that put relentless curiosity and unapologetic passion to use as methods for intellectual invention." — from the Foreword by Ann Cvetkovich

Amy L. Stone is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Trinity University and author of Gay Rights at the Ballot Box. Jaime Cantrell is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Mississippi.