Archive Activism and Conversations about Feminism(s)

Working with South Asian feminist activists, Professor Christine Garlough and a research team have created a digital archive of political posters housed through the University of Wisconsin Library system. In this lecture, she will discuss the philosophy behind and strategies associated with “activist archiving,” including the groups’ shared pedagogical mission to create a website that hosts an interdisciplinary curriculum and informational materials for NGOs and teachers.  In addition, she will explore their recent undertaking – a set of art and activism poster projects that use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, etc.) to connect girls across the globe. These forums aim to facilitate discussion of feminist issues related to educational opportunities, health care, violence against women and girls, political participation, employment equity, and sustainability.

Christine Garlough is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Director for the Center for South Asia, and affiliate of the Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore, Interdisciplinary Theater Studies, and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures. Her research constellates around issues of art and activism. Her work centers on how feminist groups, both in India and the South Asian diaspora, use street plays, poster work, performance art, and oral narratives to address social and political exigencies. As part of this work, she has developed the South Asian Feminist Activism Archive (SAFAA), which digitizes and catalogs rare Indian feminist posters. Her research appears in journals such as Quarterly Journal of Speech, Journal of American Folklore, Women’s Studies in Communication, Journal of American Folklore, and Western Folklore, as well as the edited volumes and her recently published scholarly monograph, Desi Devas: Activism in South Asian American Cultural Performance (2013). Her new book project, The Danger of Safe Space, takes up questions of restricting discourse to shared political or social viewpoints, and the relation of this to the ethics of care, activism, and acknowledgment in a range of contexts.