The Matter of the Archive
This seminar examines the literary, historical, and visual matter of the archive in order to generate new methods of creating, deconstructing, and reading across archival formations in comparative race and ethnic studies. In alignment with recent feminist and queer of color critiques and theorizations of the archive, we will ask: how do we encounter, assemble, and disassemble archival matter? What haunts the archives that we work within, and who do we become in the process of doing archival research? Our readings will foreground the imperial archive as an epistemological and material formation, but we will also attend to the uses and value of personal and familial archives. In so doing, we will consider what it means to intimately engage with archival matter such as dust, ephemera, and decay. Our objective is to develop ways of what Antoinette Burton calls “dwelling in the archive” – practices of research and reading that counter Derrida’s “archive fever.” Readings draw from Asian American and Black Studies, and may include Hazel Carby, Imperial Intimacies; Lisa Lowe, The Intimacies of Four Continents; Lily Cho, Mass Capture; Tiya Miles, All That She Carried; Martha Hodes, My Hijacking; Sarita See, The Filipino Primitive; and Nicole Fleetwood, Marking Time.
Submatriculated M.A. students interested in this course should request permission from the instructor and should submit a permit request via Path@Penn.