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Ontology and Haunting: On Agard-Jones’s “What the Sands Remember”

Interrogating the Archive Reading Workshop

May 22, 2019, 12 p.m.
VAF 366, Visual Arts Facility, UC San Diego

Scholar Vanessa Agard-Jones's “What the Sands Remember” takes up sand as a metaphor for queer life in Martinique. She writes that “sand in the region is ubiquitous," and describes it as a substance that, in the Caribbean context, is constantly shifting; it is a symbol of impermanence, and yet something that is everywhere, penetrating the crevices, impossible to eradicate, and always making its presence known. This workshop, led by Katherine Steelman, PhD Candidate, Ethnic Studies, with Professor Roshanak Kheshti, Ethnic Studies, will discuss the ways Agard-Jones uses this specific place-based metaphor to trace the silent presence of queerness in the archive, alongside ethnographic interviews of “people who might be called queer,” which she reads as archival literary texts.

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Interrogating the Archive: Shared Research Methodologies at the Intersection of Aesthetics and Authenticity is a research project which addresses key methodological gaps in qualitative research practices. By focusing on forms of knowledge production in the archive, this interdisciplinary group seeks to develop entirely new shared research methodologies for tracing the lives of marginalized communities, ‘ethnographic’ objects, and unconventional artworks that are systematically subject to erasure by dominant cultural paradigms.

Agard-Jones, Vanessa. “What the Sands Remember.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Volume 18, Number 2-3 (June 2012): 325-346.

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