Scattering Histories: Queerness, Migrancy, and the Question of the Archive

The Allen Isaacman Collection Annual African History Lecture
Speaker: Caio Simões de Araújo

Date: 12 April 2023

Venue: UWC Main Library, Level 12 Special Collections

Time: 12:00 to 13:30

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This lecture aims to explore the somewhat uncontroversial argument that queerness and migrancy are mutually constitutive concepts and historical experiences. To do so, I dialogue with Keguro Marcharia’s articulation of the queer black diasporic condition as one of “uneven traces of dispersal and scattering”, and ask how can we – methodologically and archivally – start to reconstruct, narrate and imagine such scattering histories. I then elaborate on how these questions were tackled in my own work in Mozambique, based on oral histories and personal photo archives. I push for a reimagination of the photo album as a queer migrant archive, an assemblage that serves to memorialise quotidian acts of fugitivity – of resistance in mobility –, but also of refusal. As Tina Campt has argued, the photograph, the portrait, embodies one’s “refusal to be made invisible”. Building on this premise, I suggest that the migrant photo album is a powerfully queer archival genre, the product of continual processes of self-fashioning and self-inscription, of curation of one’s own life, of self-archiving.

About the speaker:

Caio Simoes De Araujo is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Wits University, and from May 2023 will begin a Digital Curatorial Fellowship in the New Archival Visions programme at the CHR at UWC.

This event is brought to you by the Allen Isaacman Collection Committee, the UWC Libraries, the Department of History and the Center for Humanities Research

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