From Teddy Bears and Cyborg Witches to Oysters and Pink Elephants: A xenofeminist remedy for the mal d’archive and other binary troubles

From Teddy Bears and Cyborg Witches to Oysters and Pink Elephants: A xenofeminist remedy for the mal d’archive and other binary troubles
Date
13 June 2022, 3.30pm - 4.30pm
Type
Lecture
Venue
Online & Woburn Suite, G22/26, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Description



Speaker: Saskia Huc-Hepher (University of Westminster)

In the opening lines of Jacques Derrida’s seminal Mal d’archive (1995), the intrinsic duality of the archive is held accountable for its ‘trouble’. From its very incarnation as ‘archive’, stemming from the Greek arkhḗ, meaning both commencement and commandment, the archive is deemed to suffer from its conflicted essence: simultaneously beginning and end, personal and institutional, public and private, a ‘totality’ and ‘fragments’ (Foucault, 1969: 179). In the case of web archives, the affliction is exacerbated by online/offline, digital/physical, open/closed, global/local dichotomies. However, as Derrida later suggests, the sickness (or mal) produced by the archive is also associated with desire and the irresistible pull of the past, a bittersweet merging of lovesickness and homesickness. In this talk, I will explore this more positive understanding of the archive’s embodied dualities. By applying a progressive, if disruptive, xenofeminist lens to the UK Web Archive, I will show how multilingual, diasporic micro-archives serve to queer the anglophone “patriarchive” in their dismantling of steadfast binaries and implicit postcolonial hegemonies. Moreover, based on my own experience of curating the London French Special Collection, I will demonstrate how migrant women’s blogs can be apprehended as a technomaterialist, trans-inclusive XF act and how their increasingly multimodal translingual affordances challenge the troubling effects of the archive’s in-betweenness. 

Saskia Huc-Hepher is a Reader in Transdisciplinary French Studies at the University of Westminster, and on the editorial team for Digital Modern Languages (Modern Languages Open). She was a researcher in the AADDA and BUDDAH digital humanities’ projects and curator of the London French Special Collection in the UK Web Archive. Her research focuses on questions of identity and belonging among London’s French diaspora in on-land and on-line contexts. Her first monograph, French London: A blended ethnography of a migrant city, was published with Manchester University Press in 2021.

This session is part of the WARCnet meeting 2022.


All welcome- This event is free to attend, but booking is required. 

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