Webinar: Intimate Archives

Wednesday 27 October 2021

How do we read and write intimacy and sexuality in the archive? What does a feminist history of intimacy look like?


In the last two decades, scholars working in the humanities and the social sciences have been reimagining histories of intimacy and sexuality in and out of the official record. This body of work has not only staged a careful examination and critique of the gendered nature of colonial and postcolonial histories and archives, but have also inspired important explorations of intimacy and sexuality in new and exciting ways, beyond historical research and academic writing alone. If researchers have been seriously engaging a much broader array of sources and historical registers than the official archive allows, many have also been exploring and experimenting with creative writing as an intellectually rich form of self-expression and critical thinking. This work has been proven particularly successful in problematizing historical silences and exclusions, as well as in advancing feminist re-imaginations of intimacy and sexuality as an important domains of social experience.

This panel will create a conversation on how can we read and write intimacy and sexuality anew, with and through our intimate archives. We invite two scholars to speak about their recent projects on histories of sexuality and intimacy in India and South Africa, namely Durba Mitra, author of Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought (Princeton University Press, 2020), and Gabeba Baderoon, author of The History of Intimacy (Northwestern University Press, 2021). By putting these scholars and their work in conversation, we want to reimagine intimacy and the archive, through both historical research and creative writing/poetry.

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