I am back in Berlin soon!
Conveners: Elahe Haschemi Yekani (HU Berlin), Tavia Nyong’o (Yale) & Eva Boesenberg (HU Berlin)
Entangled Diasporas: Shadow Archives in Black, Queer, and Postcolonial Studies
Recently, interdisciplinary attention in the fields of postcolonial studies, Black studies, feminist studies, and queer studies has turned to the question of “entanglement.” Variously rendered in German as Verflechtung (as used in histoirecroisée / Globalgeschichte) and as Verschränkung (as used in quantum mechanics and feminist technoscience studies), entanglement holds both ontological and epistemological relevance. Entanglement promises to reshape archival studies and historiography, bringing to bear the resources of new materialist and ecocritical approaches, fabulation and new narrative approaches, such as surface and other reading strategies that challenge both conceptions of identity as well as linear temporalities and national canons. Entanglement is also meant to highlight the interactions and cross-connections between different diasporic communities.
By using the term shadow archives, we intend to point to a phenomenon that is neither reading with or against the grain, and that does not begin from the assumption that the archive is either “full” or “empty.” Beyond such dualisms, the shadow archive points towards fields of historical potentiality (or virtuality) against the idea of afterwardness / Nachträglichkeit that models such as counter histories or writing back imply. We want to engage with queer temporalities of utopias and spaces in the city that can be directed at both the past and the present, to engage with assumptions of coevality or the yet to come. We seek to name a research agenda that isn’t divided between archive and repertoire, presence and absence, or affective attachment and detachment, subversion or collusion but rather engage with the entangled, queer and messy ways we create meaning today by looking to the past.