“Finding the Lines to My People”: Media History and Queer Bibliographic Encounter

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McKinney, Cait. “Finding the Lines to My People”: Media History and Queer Bibliographic Encounter. GLQ 1 January 2018; 24 (1): 55–83. https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-4254504

Date created: 
2018-01-01
Identifier: 
DOI: 10.1215/10642684-4254504
Keywords: 
Media
Information
Social movements
Queer youth
Barbara Gittings
Libraries
Abstract: 

This article examines the materiality, construction, and circulation strategies of LGBTQ information interfaces within a longer genealogy of media practices that troubles the Internet’s predominance in understandings of queer self-formation. It focuses on a particular bibliographic project: The Gay Bibliography (1971–1980) produced by lifetime activist Barbara Gittings in her role as coordinator of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Task Force on Gay Liberation. The article examines the role of bibliographies in the gay liberation movement’s broader information activism, and develops a longer history of “queer bibliographic encounters” that connects these older practices with paper to theorizations of queer youth and online media in the present. Methodologically, the paper analyzes a collection of several hundred letters sent to Gittings to request the bibliography, in order to examine the affective economies of information interfaces in LGBTQ contexts. The article argues that the prevalence of bibliographic encounters across a range of “old” and “new” media provides a model for understanding how information interfaces construct the subjects and stakes of social movements across time, and for imagining new forms of knowledge mobilization that expand the terms of movement participation. 

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
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