Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Deadline Friday the 29th of January


Professor Gloria Wekker 

Archives matter. Archives are bound up with the question of whose history is worth preserving. Scholars in postcolonial and decolonial studies have broadened our understanding of archives by thinking of ‘imperial archives’ (Ann Stoler/ Thomas Richards) and colonialism as a ‘cultural archive’ (Edward Said/ Gloria Wekker): ways of understanding how the documents left behind by empire were made, distributed as well as stored, and ways of opening up what is meant by a document: to document is an action that is performed in relation to bodies. This conference will focus on the ways in which we encounter the archive and consider how we might engage the archive differently within feminist, queer and decolonial studies. For feminist studies the archive becomes an imperative site for preserving, remembering and celebrating feminist work and histories. The feminist archive is seen as a ‘repository of not only affect but also order’ (Kate Eichhorn). In queer studies, archives have been identified as ‘archives of feeling’ (Ann Cvetkovich) as well as ‘ephemeral’ (Jack Halberstam) or ‘make-shift or randomly organized’ (José Muñoz).

As a starting point we recognise that even archives without official homes, which operate to counter institutional histories, have their own exclusions and omissions. The archive is never a neutral site and memories, stories and material from Black feminists and feminists of colour as well as Black queers and queers of colour are often left behind. As Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski and Yula Burin suggest “It is essential for us to see how the struggles we still face have been challenged in the past. We need to look back from a black feminist perspective.” How does the archive work with and against us to preserve and remember histories and herstories that are often erased? How do archives challenge or reproduce the violences that they document?

We hope in this conference to think toward different uses of archive, from a range of disciplines and perspectives. We hope to explore, how the institutional archive can be made feminist, queered or decolonized, and in which ways we can build on transnational archives as well as establish our own archives. We wish to invite postgraduate students, early career researchers as well as activists, artists and anyone else to contribute.

We welcome performances, visual presentations and academic engagements.

Topics of the conference include but are not limited to:

  • Black feminist and feminist of colour genealogies: What does the archive tell us about Black feminist of colour feminist genealogies? How and where are they remembered?
  • Transnational Feminist Archives: What do historic transnational exchanges between feminists tell us about the importance of building alliances? In which other ways can we build transnational feminist archives such as through arts, performance, sound or storytelling?
  • Gatekeeping the Archive: Who or what is archiving and for whom? How do we deal with issues of ownership, gatekeeping and memory making?
  • Visible Archives: How can we make LGBTQ narratives visible through the archive? What is the relationship between the arts and the archive?
  • Activist Archives: Is the archive still relevant? How can we start archiving our own herstories/histories/theirstories? What are different ways to engage in community archiving?
  • Queering and Decolonizing the Archive: What is the relationship between queering and decolonizing the archive? How does futurity relate to the archive? And how can we envision future archives?
  • Colonial Archives: How do we deal with the contested colonial legacies and archives? How can violence be reproduced through the archive? How do the colonial representations of race, gender and class influence present day archives?
  • Bodily Archives: What is the relationship between the bodies, feelings and archives? Do we embody archives? How can we come to different understandings of embodied knowledge?
  • Pleasure Archives: How is sexuality and self-love represented in the archive?
  • Queer, Feminist and Decolonial methodologies: What kind of methodologies can we apply and develop in relationship to the archive?


Please submit individual abstracts of no longer than 250 words. Please also include your name, institutional affiliation and a short biography of up to 100 words. The deadline for submissions is Friday the 29th of January and submissions should be made to: For more information and the programme please visit: