In critical condition: (Un)becoming bodies in archival acts of truth telling

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6 Scopus citations


This article engages the archives as a space of multimodal truth telling that challenges the traditional understanding of archives as “autho-rized evidence.” This inquiry, specifically into oral history interviews produced for and within the archives, works to further disrupt the long-standing traditional archival paradigm that advocates for a static and fixed archival record. To recognize an archival record that is neither static nor singular is to recognize how static and singular records have functioned in the archives. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s 1983 essays and lectures on parrhesia – often translated in English as “free speech” and defined as the process of telling and confronting one’s truth – I posit that multiplicities related to subjects and subjectivities offer kaleidoscopic connections between the storyteller and the stories and truths they tell. Through analysis of distinct oral history interviews I conducted for the Arizona Queer Archives and with an emphasis on the narrator, Foucault’s parrhesiastes, I argue that truth telling emerges through oral history methods that might best support (un)becoming bodies and bodies of knowledge in the archives to trouble the archival record in a generative way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-195
Number of pages34
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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