Course: Performance, Literature, and the Archive

This is a course about archives—as places, sets of objects, ideas, performances, and sites of memory.  During the semester, we will consider these various meanings of archives by reading a number of essays and books, and by considering several exhibitions, performances, films, literary texts, and works of art that directly address one of more of these categories, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.   Individual and collective histories under investigation include Native American genocide, the transatlantic slave trade, the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, the HIV/AIDS crisis, 9/11, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sexual violence. The goal is to examine the relationship between events—cataclysmic as well as ordinary—and the traces they leave in their wake.  Particular attention will be paid to the politics of identity as it relates to archives, with an explicit focus on the meaning of events and their aftereffects for marginalized subjects and among various cultures of trauma and resilience.