Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Affect Theory/Embodiment and the Archive: UCLA Human Rights Archives Symposium

 Held in November, the 2014 Human Rights Archives Symposium featured a series of scholarly and professional presentations on the topic of affect in the archive. The goal of the symposium was to respond to the affective turn across archival and curatorial fields of specialization through direct engagements with archives of public feeling that pertain to experiences of intimacy, sexuality, trauma, and activism. 

Ann Cvetkovich, Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Texas-Austin, was honored as the event’s keynote speaker. Her opening address—titled “Archival Turns and Queer Affective Methods”—outlined some central questions she explores in her latest book in progress, which considers the current rise of LGBTQ archival projects within the co-constitutive contexts of state recognition, civil rights, and cultural visibility. 

The conference included a a broad span of participants from such institutions as University of Arizona, California Institute of the Arts, University of California, Riverside, Occidental College, Monash University, and the UCLA Department of Information Studies. Gender- based thematic concerns covered by the panels included: feminist challenges to rights-based frameworks through an ethics of care, the politics of affective labor and collective memory in domestic and service-oriented work, and the production of sisterhood through handcraft projects in the nation’s oldest Asian American sorority. The event was sponsored by the Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI) and the UCLA Center for Information as Evidence, Department of Information Studies, Department of English, and the UCLA Library.

–Dana M. Linda

Dana M. Linda is a graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature at UCLA.

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