Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Introducing the WCRT Bylaws Committee!

Our two volunteers have been selected, and we now have a full bylaws committee.  In addition to our existing leadership, our new committee members are Kate Colligan (kate.colligan@gmail.com) and Bethany Anderson (bgandrsn@gmail.com).  The committee will be evaluating our next steps in the coming weeks and will be soliciting input for by-laws from WCRT members, so watch the listserv and blog for that!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I recently co-edited the anthology Make Your Own History: Documenting Feminist and Queer Activism in the 21st Century (Litwin Books, 2012), with Lyz Bly, an instructor of gender studies and history at Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State Universities, who earned her doctorate in American History from Case Western Reserve University in 2010.  

I started thinking about this book three years ago in 2009 when Emily Drabinski, the editor for the Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, emailed me out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in writing a book about zines after being referred to me by Jenna Freedman, the zine librarian at Barnard. My initial reaction was no, thanks, but then I realized this was a great opportunity to further explore some questions I had been asking about how to document the modern feminist movement beyond zines. I also knew that I wanted to explore these ideas from a variety of perspectives, and to produce a volume that was accessible to a variety of audiences—not just librarians, archivists and academics. To this end, I invited Lyz Bly, who I knew through her time at the Sallie Bingham Center as a Mary Lily Travel Grant recipient when she was researching the zine collections for her dissertation Generation X and the Invention of the Third Feminist Wave.

Once we started exploring this topic, we realized it was hard to address without including pieces about queer activism and second wave feminism due to the intersectionality and fluid nature of feminism. I hope this book will highlight the Bingham Center’s leadership in documenting the modern feminist movement, but also share the other work being done at other institutions and encourage other archivists and activists to participate in this process since these movements are far too big for just a handful of archives to document. 

Make Your Own History addresses the practical and theoretical challenges and advantages of researching, documenting, and archiving recent and contemporary activists in the feminist and queer movements. Chapter topics include zines, documenting the LGBT community, the future of collecting electronic and online records, and how the women of the Second Wave continue to contribute to the feminist movement.

Janice Radway, Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and professor emerita of Literature and History at Duke University, recommends that this collection “should be read by librarians,  archivists, and book historians everywhere who are thinking critically about how best to preserve and study the record of lives lived outside and beyond the limits of the conventional.”

Read more about this book in an interview with Michele Burger on her blog “The Practice of Creativity”: http://micheleberger.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/archives-as-activism-documenting-feminist-and-queer-activism-interview-with-author-kelly-wooten/

Post submitted by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and Librarian for Sexuality Studies for Perkins Library.