This course finds its origins the work of queer Chumash/Esselen poet and scholar Deborah A. Miranda who declares “my body is an archive”. What does it mean to physically inhabit a difficult or silenced history? How does it feel to have your body or your ancestors’ bodies and stories collected by institutions? How is trauma lived and passed down through the body? What do our feelings, senses, and living in our bodies teach us that cannot be learned through the mind alone? How does language itself create and contain archives of cultural knowledge and relationships?
Miranda’s work invites us to engage in Indigenous ways of knowing and feminist inquiry into the issue of historical trauma through narratives of embodied, lived experiences of subjection and survivace. We will explore the relationship between documents and objects and the emotions, senses, and affective knowledges of living peoples related to them by critically examining archival logics, archival methods, and theorizations of the archive. This is a course designed to shift disciplinary perspective. Course materials will cover a broad interdisciplinary terrain from literature, performance, poetry, and visual arts/film to legal, historical, and cultural studies. Much of this is short form and will be available through Gauchospace. We will be reading a few book length works (novels, theory, and memoirs) by authors such as Deborah A. Miranda, Saidiya Hartman, Dian Million, and Leslie Marmon Silko. Guest lectures will include field experts and visiting artists who are part of the syllabus.