Nicola Chávez Courtright
- Doctoral Candidate
- University of California, Los Angeles
This project works with Salvadoran LGBTQ archives, mental health circles and activist spaces to examine how queer and trans organizers in the country feel about their complex historical present. Melding ethnography and archival practices, this project builds on participatory research methods by facilitating activist encounters with memory-activating objects, such as photographs and ephemera. Through this collaborative archiving approach, two central questions are addressed. Firstly, how a tactile approach to LGBTQ historical events affects interlocutor understandings of the present, and, second, how these impressions can shape the arrangement and future use of existing holdings in community archives. While honing the researcher’s recordkeeping abilities through close collaboration with in-country archivists, this project contributes to the literature on archival ethnography and joins participatory trends in archival studies.