A Queer/ed Archival Methodology: Archival Bodies as Nomadic Subjects


  • Jamie Ann Lee University of Arizona




Archival bodies, Embodiment, Queer/ed Archival Methodology, Nomadic Theory


This article highlights the particular - embodied - ways in which the human record can be collected, organized, and preserved. Engaging both archival and queer theories, the understanding of body-as-archives and archives-as-body is instantiated in the oral history record from one genderqueer poet. This poet's narration can be understood as a nomadic one of multiplicities, undoings, and metamorphoses. The far-reaching possibilities of the ongoing histories of the simultaneous becoming and unbecoming - archived (un)becomings - are at play and embodied throughout this archived oral history.  The archives can produce a dizzying effect through which, I argue, archivists can resist the urge to settle, to neatly organize, and to contain the archival records to consider new ways to understand and represent the dynamic (un)becomings. Through the interpretive frame of the nomadic, the archives can be understood as a site of (un)becomings and as a space that can hold moving living histories.

Author Biography

Jamie Ann Lee, University of Arizona

Jamie A. Lee is Assistant Professor of Digital Culture, Information, and Society in the School of Information, University of Arizona. Her current research attends to archives/digital archives and uses the body as a framework to understand the archives as related to embodied practice and productions. She explores archival theory and practice; community archives, the multimodal media that constitute archival records, and records creators in order to investigate the telling of stories and counter-stories of community, identity, and belonging; social justice media, new media, and media studies along with digital storytelling practices and productions; LGBTQ studies; Queer Theory; and affect, embodiment, temporality, and the importance of interrogating the haptic visuality of moving images.

Since 1991, Lee has worked in film/video/TV and has owned and operated a multimedia production firm in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Tucson dedicated to producing moving pictures. As an award-winning social justice filmmaker, Lee's work has screened on PBS, Free Speech TV, and at film festivals and conferences throughout North America and Europe. She presented at the 2008 Women's World Congress in Madrid, Spain and was the keynote speaker at the 2009 New Directions in Critical Theory Conference about the power of storytelling and using media to make lasting change.