This essay reflects on archival digitalization and its implications for researchers interested in historicizing queerness. The essay seeks a conversation about how new archival tools boost our access to particular constructions of subjectivity while simultaneously limiting the extent to which we can discern the parameters of queerness. It draws on the author's recent work with archives of several state security agencies from Brazil's military regime (1964–85). The collections have undergone digitalization, such that access is now largely computerized. Finding aids rely not only on archivists' descriptions but on optical character recognition. The essay offers some analysis of the role of identity politics in shaping researchers' frameworks, as well as those of historical subjects, and of what such processes do to the space and practice of the queer archive.
Ben Cowan; “A Passive Homosexual Element”: Digitized Archives and the Policing of Homosex in Cold War Brazil. Radical History Review 1 October 2014; 2014 (120): 183–203. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2703796
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