Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-01-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Archivist talks documenting leather, S&M and fetishism history
by Charlsie Dewey
2016-04-19

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


For more than four decades, Gayle Rubin has been uncovering documents and artifacts pertaining to leather, S&M and fetishism culture, ensuring this important piece of history isn't lost to time.

Rubin—who is an archivist and associate professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Michigan—didn't set out to become one of the country's top archivists of these materials. Instead, her work led her down that path.

In 1978, while working on her dissertation on gay male leather subculture in San Francisco she found the source material necessary for her work substantially lacking.

"The research institutions that normally would collect archival materials on which scholars could base their research just didn't collect this material," Rubin said.

She noted that was the case for most LGBTQ materials.

"I got involved doing research first on lesbian history in the early 1970s, then on gay history more generally, and then on leather history toward the late 1970s, and at that time, there were very few collections of primary source material in any of these areas," she said.

"When I first went to San Francisco to do research there, the major research libraries in the Bay Area didn't even have copies of the major gay newspapers. They just didn't collect those types of materials."

As a result, Rubin and others doing similar work began accumulating source materials themselves.

Rubin said that accumulation proved challenging.

First, she noted, as with any attempt to document history, many of the documents and artifacts were naturally lost to time.

"Any kind of documentary material that is produced in almost any situation on this planet only survives partly by accident and partly because there are resources available to preserve it," Rubin said.

"Even where materials are durable or there is an institution to take care of them, there are the problems of wars and fires. The library of Alexandria burned and a lot of material is lost every time there is a war."

Rubin said when it comes to sexual histories or other stigmatized histories there are additional challenges that come into play as well.

"A lot of people didn't save material because they thought it wasn't important or they were embarrassed by it," she said.

She also noted the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s on material preservation.

"A lot of the people who were dying were too young to have thought about making a will or appointing someone to have legal authority to manage their estate," Rubin said. "A lot of families came in and either didn't know what the stuff was or were embarrassed by it, so a lot of it got thrown away.

"One organization with which I was involved at the time was called the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. We were out doing salvage operations, trying to save what we could from this wave of loss and destruction that was happening, not just to the individuals, but to the histories of the communities in which they'd been a part."

Rubin said it is particularly important for minority communities to preserve their histories.

"If you don't have that ability to produce, preserve and make accessible the documentary and artifactual remains of any human project, it tends to vanish very quickly and then people don't know it ever happened.

"With gay history, a lot has been lost. A lot of young gay people were under the impression they were the first individuals on the planet to ever have these feelings or to try to articulate and express them, because the histories had not been adequately preserved."

By preserving the histories of the LGBTQ community and its many subcultures over time, Rubin said, "We could situate ourselves better historically, intellectually and socially, and have some understanding of who we were and where we were in the world."

That knowledge also provides a source of power for present-day movements.

"Knowledge is a form of power and without it, one is lacking some really key tools for functioning in the world and certainly for certain social and political and moral agendas," Rubin said.

Rubin will share her knowledge as an archivist and anthropologist on Saturday, April 23, in Chicago at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave.

Rubin said she will talk about the challenges early scholars faced in locating and assembling source materials related to LGBTQ history as well as about her specific collection of leather, S&M and fetishism, which she has accumulated through her projects.

The presentation, "Archival Fetishism: Decades of Documenting Leather History," will begin at 3 p.m. n Saturday, April 23, at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. Member admission is free; general admission is $10. Tickets will be available at the door or at www.leatherarchives.org/adminticket.html .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Israel medical group, India's ban, Chechnya detention 2019-01-15 - Members who perform conversion therapy could now be expelled from the Israel Medical Association ( IMA )—which represents 90 percent of the country's ...


Gay News

Deadline looms for LGBT community-needs survey 2019-01-15 - Members of the Chicago region's LGBT community have until the end of the month to take part in an extensive survey measuring the ...


Gay News

Anti-bullying laws including sexual orientation associated with fewer suicides 2019-01-15 - Sexual minority youth have a higher prevalence of bullying and attempted suicide than non-sexual minority youth. New research from the Williams Institute at ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health changes clinical leadership 2019-01-02 - Howard Brown Health announced changes to its medical leadership structure in response to growth across its citywide network. With 10 clinical locations ...


Gay News

Report highlights lack of support for student survivors of domestic violence 2019-01-02 - A report published by Chicago's Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law shows that while coverage of the incidence of sexual abuse in ...


Gay News

WORLD Conversion therapy, Lebanese group, Japanese marriage suit 2019-01-01 - Two separate petitions launched earlier this year in Canada asking the government to ban conversion therapy have amassed a combined 70,000 signatures, PinkNews ...


Gay News

Wisconsin state employees to have hormone, gender-surgery insurance coverage 2019-01-01 - As of Jan. 1, an insurance exclusion for transgender surgery for Wisconsin state employees has been removed, WPR.org reported. In August, the state's ...


Gay News

1,000 LGBT youth protected from conversion therapy in 2018, five states pass laws 2018-12-27 - New estimates from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law find that 1,000 LGBT youth ages 13 to 17 will be protected ...


Gay News

Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek on medical award, Dr. Tamara O'Neal 2018-12-26 - For 25 years, renowned physician Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek has been treating patients and teaching medical students and residents the ins and outs ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN The LGBTQ parenting year in review 2018-12-26 - LGBTQ parents and our children faced significant challenges to equality and inclusion in 2018—but there was still some progress. Here are the highlights ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.