How might current theories of the queer archive, its ephemeral, idiosyncratic, and fetishized contents, and its affective relation to the past and present, need amending to accommodate non-Western contexts and their differing histories and cultural scripts of sexuality? This article addresses such questions by examining the İstanbul Ansiklopedisi, the never-completed, lifetime labor of love of the mid-twentieth-century Turkish historian Reşad Ekrem Koçu. The entries and illustrations in the eleven extant volumes turn out to be a veritable treasure trove of queer history, queer longing, and queer affect—one that nonetheless managed to pass itself off as acceptable reading material for any number of middle-class Turkish families. Facing the systematic erasure of Istanbul's centuries-old tradition of male homoerotic culture from the official and state record, Koçu makes his encyclopedic enterprise the covert home for a queer archive that, in refusing to disappear, becomes a queer politics.
Joseph Allen Boone; Creating a Queer Archive in the Public Eye: The Case of Reşad Ekrem Koçu. GLQ 1 January 2017; 23 (1): 51–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3672303
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