Archiving Transgender : Affects. Logics and Power of Queer History

Kelly Jacob Rawson, Syracuse University. Graduate School

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric in the Graduate School of Syracuse University May 2010


Archiving Transgender:Affects, Logics, and the Power of Queer History examines three archives that collect transgender material in order to analyze archives as rhetorical sites where a complex interplay of language, politics, logic, and affect shape archival research. Current scholarship in rhetorical historiography has (re)turned to archives to consider the rhetorical dimensions of archives themselves and the impact these dimensions have on researchers (Kirsch and Rohan; Morris; Ferreira-Buckley). I extend and complicate this line of inquiry by focusing specifically on transgender archival practices and logics. Transgender archiving is an especially rich site for critical investigation because of the complexities of the term “transgender” itself, including its recent emergence, its current academic slant, its repeated failure to represent those to whom it is often applied, and the ethical considerations that are prompted by its use.