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more about Diana

On March 19th our good friend (and Hanna’s former roomie) Diana Kiyo Wakimoto became the first PhD candidate in the Queensland University of Technology and San Jose State University’s joint  Gateway PhD Program to reach the point of making a final seminar presentation before revisions and submission of dissertation research. Congratulations Diana!

Her topic, queer community archives in California since 1950, makes her research a valuable contribution to the fields of library science/archives, queer history, and queer activism. And of obvious interest to the folks who read a blog titled “the feminist librarian.” Happily, she’s made her final presentation slides and the text of her talk available over at her blog, The Waki Librarian. In her own words:

For many decades, the records that have been forgotten are those of the queer communities, which were not collected by institutional archives. In response to this neglect, community groups created their own archives to collect and preserve their records (Barriault, 2009a; Flinn & Stevens, 2009; Fullwood, 2009). Without the activism shown by the pioneers who created these personal collections and community archives, much of the record of the queer community organizations, movements, and individuals would have been lost. Multiple queer community archives have been created in California to combat the historical neglect and silencing of queer voices in institutional archives. My thesis focuses on the little studied area of the histories of these queer community archives in California and their relationships to institutional archives. 

… As archivists continue to debate the role of the archivist as a professional, this study lends support to the scholars and practitioners who see the archivist as an activist and a non-neutral player in the construction of history and community identities. It bears repeating that without the activists and archivists within the queer communities who saved records and completed oral history projects, much of the record of the communities’ histories would have been lost. Therefore activism is important to saving records of the past and the archives profession must act to ensure a diversity of voices are found in the archives. We could learn much from the community archivists and volunteers about connecting with community members and creating archives and spaces that reflect community needs and interests.

Congratulations, Diana, and I can’t wait to read the final dissertation in full! 

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