Course Offerings

courses > 2021 fall

Arts and Research Studio: Queer Archives, Aesthetics, Performance

THAR 281.401

Friday 1:45pm to 4:45pm

This course focuses on questions of how to represent the queer past, which it approaches from several angles: through training in archival methods and in scholarly debates about historiographical ethics (or, in the words of David Halperin, "how to do the history of homosexuality"); through engagement with the work of artists who make archives central to their practice; and through lab-based training that aims to represent encounters with queer history through embodied performance. Expectations: This course meeting weekly for 3 hours. But as you will see listed below (these activities and dates are not confirmed for this draft syllabus) the course includes and require that you attend a series of off-campus trips both in Philadelphia and to NYC that occur outside of the class schedule. Below is a list of archives we will visit, performances we will attend, and artists' studios we will visit for in-depth conversation with artist about their practice. The course will address both practical and theoretical issues raised by research in LGBT archives. We will take advantage of local resources in Philadelphia, including the John J. Wilcox Archives at the William Way Center ( But we will also visit the Lesbian Herstory Archives ( and The Downtown Collection at the Fales Library at NYU ( and the Franklin Furnace Performance Archives (, all in New York City. We will also bring artists to campus to work directly with students, and will meet with artists in New York. We will take advantage of the staging of Killjoy Kastle in Philadelphia in Fall 2019. This site-specific art installation, the work of Toronto artists Allyson Mitchell and Dierdre Logue, is a haunted house that addresses the difficult history of lesbian feminism, as well as its potential for contemporary LGBT politics. Since the Haunted House will include materials related to the history of feminist and LGBT activism in Philadelphia, students in the course can actively contribute to the research for this project.