This issue of TSQ will investigate practical and theoretical dimensions of archiving transgender phenomena and will ask what constitutes “trans* archives” or “trans* archival practices.”
While transgender-related experiences have long been captured by archives to some extent, the last few decades have witnessed an increased commitment to collecting trans* materials. Consequently, sizable trans* collections can now be found in a range of institutional contexts including grassroots archives, nonprofit organizations, and university-based collections.
Given this trend, myriad practical considerations that trans* materials present for archiving warrant further attention. What should or should not be included in trans* archives? What are the best practices for acquiring, processing, preserving, and making transgender materials accessible? Given practical limitations of space and money, how do we decide what to prioritize? And who decides? What are the implications for history when archivists make such decisions? How should archives negotiate ethical concerns specific to trans* archives? What relationship—if any—do trans* materials have to broader LGBTQ collections? What cataloguing tools are available and how do they obscure, distort, or make meaning of the lived experiences of trans* people? What are the benefits and limitations of using “transgender” or “trans*” as umbrella terms in an archival context? How are archivists and archival practices changed by the challenges of dealing with trans* materials? What role can digital technologies play in collecting and accessing trans* materials, particularly born-digital materials?
These practical considerations would be incomplete without a closely related theoretical exploration of trans* archiving. How, for example, are bodies representable (or unrepresentable) through archival documents? How can embodiment itself be considered an archive of memory and feeling, a sedimentation of social practices, a living medium for the transmission of cultural forms? What power do archives have in shaping popular understandings of transgender phenomena? How are researchers affected by their encounters with archival materials? How do archives steer researchers in particular ways with metadata, organizational systems, and finding aids? Can archives help construct community and personal identity? Does digitization inherently change trans* historical artifacts?
We welcome submissions of full-length academic articles on a wide range of topics related to trans* archives and archiving. Such topics might include:
• practical and philosophical considerations for developing transgender collections independently or within broader archives
• how transgender archival materials intersect with and depart from LGBQ archival materials
• critical reflections on working in trans* archives and/or with trans* archival materials
• sex, desire, and pornographic collections
• considerations of the body within and as represented by archives
• understandings of embodiment itself as an archive of affects, memory, practices, and social forms
• capturing lived experiences with archival artifacts and ephemera
• recontextualizing historical materials within the context of the archive
• affective encounters
• ethics of historical representation
• archival temporality and considerations of time and timeliness
• the role of archivists
• institutionality of government, state, academic, non-profit, and grassroots collections
• processing and interpreting trans*-related materials
• hidden collections
• archival language practices, cataloguing, and classification
• digital technologies within archives, digital archiving, and archiving born-digital materials
• intersectional identities
• access and accessibility
• archival activism
We will also consider for publication shorter essays, opinion pieces, first-person accounts, practical advice, how-to guides, or interesting archival documents. We encourage contributions from a wide range of authors including academics, independent researchers, archivists, and activists.
Please send a complete manuscript by October 15, 2014 to tsqjournal[at]gmail[dot]com along with a brief bio including name and any institutional affiliation. The expected length for scholarly articles is 5,000 to 7,000 words, and 1,000 to 2,000 words for shorter works. All manuscripts should be prepared for anonymous peer review. For articles engaging in scholarly citation, please use the Chicago author-date citation style. Any questions should be addressed by e-mail to both guest editors for the issue: Aaron Devor (ahdevor[at]uvic[dot]ca) and K.J. Rawson (kjrawson[at]holycross[dot]edu). We plan to respond to submissions by early January 2015. Final revisions will be due by March 1, 2015.
TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly is co-edited by Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker, and published by Duke University Press, with editorial offices at the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies. TSQ aims to be the journal of record for the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies and to promote the widest possible range of perspectives on transgender phenomena broadly defined. Every issue of TSQ is a specially themed issue that also contains regularly recurring features such as reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces.