Texts and Bodies: Performance and the Archive
The IUP Journal of English Studies, Vol. XIII, No. 3, September 2018, pp. 7-15
Posted: 18 Jan 2019
Date Written: 2018
With the interest in reclaiming the histories of people of color, LGBT communities, and women, the archive has become a topic of academic interest. In Archive Fever, Jacques Derrida poses the archive as being a function of the law as much as it is a means of ordering symbols. In other words, the archive serves a hegemonic purpose of placing some symbols — and thus the identities connected with them — as more valuable than others. This paper explores how Diana Taylor and Ann Cvetkovich challenge the Derridean function of the archive. Both authors pose the unrepresentable as a challenge to the archive — Taylor through her work on performance and repertoire and Cvetkovich through her work on trauma. Taylor and Cvetkovich contest the traditional archive, considering the division between the personal and the political as a function of this archive. The authors consider the alternative forms of the archive as means of empowering the marginal populations, directly countering the historical application of the archive.
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