The Archival Turn in Feminism

The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 190
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Archival Turn in Feminism
    Book Description:

    In the 1990s, a generation of women born during the rise of the second wave feminist movement plotted a revolution. These young activists funneled their outrage and energy into creating music, and zines using salvaged audio equipment and stolen time on copy machines. By 2000, the cultural artifacts of this movement had started to migrate from basements and storage units to community and university archives, establishing new sites of storytelling and political activism.

    The Archival Turn in Feminismchronicles these important cultural artifacts and their collection, cataloging, preservation, and distribution. Cultural studies scholar Kate Eichhorn examines institutions such as the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University, The Riot Grrrl Collection at New York University, and the Barnard Zine Library. She also profiles the archivists who have assembled these significant feminist collections.

    Eichhorn shows why young feminist activists, cultural producers, and scholars embraced the archive, and how they used it to stage political alliances across eras and generations.A volume in the American Literatures Initiative

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0953-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Library Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Preface
    (pp. VII-XIV)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    In early 2009, Jenna Freedman, one of the activist librarians I met during the course of researching this book, invited me to attend a conference at Columbia University on the subject of “archiving women.”¹ Freedman, the founder of the Barnard Zine Library and a speaker at the conference, used the opportunity to discuss the development of the collection she established in 2003 and to explore some challenges she has since faced while collecting, cataloging, and preserving highly ephemeral, self-published feminist and queer documents for both an open stacks collection and an archive. Regularly asked to deliver talks at academic conferences...

  5. 1 The “Scrap Heap” Reconsidered: Selected Archives of Feminist Archiving
    (pp. 25-54)

    In October 2010, Susan Faludi published an article inHarper’s Magazineon the subject of “feminism’s ritual matricide.” In summary, Faludi argues that American feminism has always been and remains structured by a matricidal impulse. Feminism’s self-inflicted death drive not only derives a long history but also, according to Faludi, permeates nearly all aspects of feminist practice and theory. In keeping with her previous polemics on feminism, she targets “academic” feminism and what she more specifically and variously describes as “poststructuralist” or “postmodern” feminism as the primary culprits. In the following passage, her argument is laid bare forHarper’sreaders:...

  6. 2 Archival Regeneration: The Zine Collections at the Sallie Bingham Center
    (pp. 55-84)

    If the feminist archives featured in this study are unique in the history of feminist archival initiatives, then it is to the extent that they represent a relationship to time and history that has only recently become possible. After all, these archives reflect the sort of relationship to time and history that one can only experience after one is both certain that they have a history (perhaps, onlyafterone begins to feel the weight of such a history and at least some responsibility for its preservation) and certain that history itself is ultimately fleeting—something never entirely sheltered from...

  7. 3 Redefining a Movement: The Riot Grrrl Collection at Fales Library and Special Collections
    (pp. 85-122)

    In the early 1990s, most people in North America, including most feminists, had never heard the term “Riot Grrrl.” By 1993, Riot Grrrl was synonymous with a style and politic signifying a new feminism—a feminism for the “video-age generation . . . sexy, assertive and loud.” ¹ This is the story told by Sara Marcus inGirls to the Front. Like most people, Marcus discovered Riot Grrrl in the November 23, 1992, issue ofNewsweek. As Marcus emphasizes in the history of Riot Grrrl she would publish nearly two decades later, for the young women connected to the Riot...

  8. 4 Radical Catalogers and Accidental Archivists: The Barnard Zine Library
    (pp. 123-154)

    I met Jenna Freedman at Barnard College, the women’s college at Columbia University, in 2006. On the occasion of my first visit, Freedman, perhaps more widely known as the “zine librarian” and sometimes simply as the “blue-haired librarian,”¹ gave me a tour of the zine library she founded at the Barnard Library in 2003. Later, we spent an hour or so talking about the collection and her thoughts on librarianship, archiving, feminism, and activism. As I was about to leave, she invited me to meet up with a group of librarians and her later that evening on the Lower East...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 155-160)

    In many respects, this book opens where Ann Cvetkovich’sAn Archive of Feelingsends. Although Cvetkovich’s study is concerned with queer and lesbian archives rather than feminist archives, the overlaps between our studies are notable; at times they cover similar terrain and even refer to some of the same collections, cultural phenomena, and urban geographies. Yet, as I emphasized throughout this book, much has changed since the publication of Cvetkovich’s book more than a decade ago. In 2003, the archives of women born during and after the rise of the second wave feminist movement were still largely found in cultural...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 161-178)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 179-184)
  12. Index
    (pp. 185-188)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)