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Cruising The Archive: Tracing Latinx Feminist, Queer and Trans Performance Art, 1980s–Present

This course examines Latinx feminist, queer and trans performance art from the 1980s until the present. Central to our pleasures of cruising will be “the archive,” broadly conceived as a discursive formation that shapes knowledge production. Specifically, we will explore the social, cultural and political dynamics of how records cross archival borders by studying performance artists who intervene with the archive. Our cruising will involve visiting archives to touch queer historical pasts, viewing records to excavate gender variant bodies, and reading texts to envision other archival horizons. We will observe how the archive produces discourses while subjecting others to erasure, focusing on the archival body politics of race, gender and sexuality. Through archival touches with records we will connect the historical past to the present to consider the broader political implications that surround the archive. By cruising the archive together, we will imagine an archival futurity to build new worlds that preserve queer, trans and gender-fluid lives.

Readings for this course include Diana Taylor's The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas; José Esteban Muñoz's “Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts”; David Getsy's “Carlos Motta: Deviations”; Macarena Gómez-Barris' “The Plush View: Makeshift Sexualities and Laura Aguilar’s Forbidden Archives"; Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz's "What the Trees Said: Archiving a (Fictional) Black Lesbian Forest"; Eddy Alvarez's “Finding Sequins in the Rubble: Stitching Together an 

Archive of Trans Latina Los Angeles"; Francisco Galarte's Brown Trans Figurations: Rethinking Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Chicanx/Latinx Studies; Horacio Roque Ramírez's "A Living Archive of Desire: Teresita la Campesina and the Embodiment of Queer Latino Community Histories"; Sarita Hernández's “Resisting the Museum: Archiving Trans* Presence and Queer Futures with Chris Vargas"; Miguel López's “Transvestite Museum of Peru: Processes of Sexed Art, the Political Body, and the Transvestite Nation"; and Robb Hernández's Archiving an Epidemic: Art, AIDS, and the Queer Chicanx Avant-Garde.

This course explores records of Latinx performance artists from the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library, June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, Lesbian Herstory Archives, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, GLBT Historical Society, Digital Transgender Archive, and Chicano Studies Research Center. The artists central to our archival excavations include Nao Bustamante, Arthur Aviles, Julie Tolentino, Carlos Motta, Robert Legorreta, Mundo Meza, Laura Aguilar, Xandra Ibarra, Carina Guzmán (Islandia), Teresita La Campesina, and Giuseppe Campuzano, among many others. Cruising The Archive is offered through the Department of Gender Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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