The lesbian herstory archives, New York: an ethnography of a community archives and its photographic collection

Nazzaro, Giulia (2018) The lesbian herstory archives, New York: an ethnography of a community archives and its photographic collection. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This dissertation is an ethnography of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (also known as LHA, New York, USA) and its photographic collection. The uniqueness of this study relies on its unprecedented exploration of the LHA’s photographic collection. The LHA’s “archival culture” was envisioned as a home to counter lesbians’ sense of homelessness dictated by their invisibility in history (Nestle 1979). This study questions the connection between archiving and the creation of home by addressing the primary influence of photographic production as well as the use and management of photographic material culture in this sense.

It offers an original approach to the study of the LHA’s photographic collection by focusing on the experiences of five archivists and their production, use, management and interpretation of this photo material. By looking at personal experiences at the Archives, the ethnography presented argues that the negotiation of a sense of home at the LHA shifts over time according to the subjectivities of each participant. This influences the ways in which photographic material is produced and how it enters the collection. It also highlights how the photographic material can shape the participant’s perception of the LHA as home, and thus their affiliation with the LHA.

This dissertation makes an innovative contribution to scholarship on photographic collections, highlighting the entanglements of archival processes, as well as archival roles and communities, whose boundaries need to be rediscussed and re-worked over time. Finally, this dissertation expands existing scholarship on community archival ethnographies, by providing important documentation on how archivists form affiliations with archives over time.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Users 11011 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 13:20
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2019 09:11

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