A Critical Archival Pedagogy: The Lesbian Herstory Archives and a Course in Radical Lesbian Thought

Supplementary Files

Page 5 of Radical Lesbian Thought course syllabus.
Archival boxes
Welcome to the Lesbian Herstory Archives
Pinto conducting research on Lesbian science fiction
Deborah Edel, Teddy Minucci, Cecilia, Pinto, Maya, and Arturo
Arturo, Cecilia, and Pinto
Maya and Pinto

How to Cite

Carden, K. R., Vaught, S. E., Muñoz, A., Pinto, V., Vaught, C., & Zeigler, M. (2016). A Critical Archival Pedagogy: The Lesbian Herstory Archives and a Course in Radical Lesbian Thought. Radical Teacher, 105, 23–32. https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2016.275


This paper is the story of a critical archival pedagogy that emerged through the undergraduate course Radical Lesbian Thought. As teachers and students, we dialogically co-constructed the praxis and content of the course throughout the semester. We employed archives throughout the course as theory, site, and pedagogy. In this paper we identify three archival frameworks: dialogue and difference, collaborative knowledge production, and archival methodology; and detail how they informed three course activities: reading and writing archival letters, visiting the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and completing final archival projects. We argue that archives provide theoretical and practical opportunities, in the tradition of critical pedagogy, to challenge and rearrange powered classroom structures and practices of thought.



Britzman, D. P. (2000). Precocious education. In S. Talburt & S. R. Steinberg

(Eds.), Thinking queer: Sexuality, culture, and education (pp. 33 – 59).

New York, NY: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.

Britzman, D. P. (2012). Queer pedagogy and its strange techniques. In E. R. Meiners & T. Quinn (Eds.), Sexualities in education: A reader (pp. 292 – 308). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Carden, K. (forthcoming). Master’s thesis.

Cvetkovich, A. (2003). An archive of feelings: Trauma, sexuality, and Lesbian public cultures. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books.

Derrida, J. (1995). Archive fever: A Freudian impression. Diacritics, 25(2), 9–63. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/465144

Edel, D., Nestle, J., Schwarz, J., Penelope, J., & Itnyre, V. (1979, Spring). Statement of purpose. Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter, (5), 1. Retrieved from http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/pdf/Newsletters/LHA%20Newsletter%205%201979.pdf

Foucault, M. (1982). The archaeology of knowledge. (A. M. Sheridan, Trans.). New York, NY: Vintage.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. (M. B. Ramos, Trans.) (30th anniversary edition). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Fritzsche, P. (2005). The archive. History & Memory, 17(1), 15–44. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/history_and_memory/v017/17.1fritzsche.html

Gieseking, J. J. (2015). Useful in/stability: The dialectical production of the social and spatial Lesbian Herstory Archives. Radical History Review, 2015(122), 25–37. Retrieved from http://rhr.dukejournals.org.ezproxy.library.tufts.edu/content/2015/122/25

Gopinath, G. (2010). Archive, affect and the everyday: Queer diasporic re-visions. In J. Staiger & A. Cvetkovich (Eds.), Political emotions (pp. 165 – 192). New York, NY: Routledge.

Gumbs, A. P. (2014). Preface: Time capsule to the unforgettable. In C. Clarke, Living as a Lesbian. New York, NY: A Midsummer Night’s Press.

Habermas, J. (1991). The structural transformation of the public sphere: An inquiryinto a category of bourgeois society. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Halberstam, J. (2005). In a queer time and place: Transgender bodies, subcultural lives. New York, NY: The NYU Press.

Hansberry Nemiroff, L. (1957). Anonymous letter. The Ladder, 1(8), 26 – 28.

History and mission. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/history.html

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York, NY: Routledge.

Loftin, C. M. (Ed.). (2012). Letters to ONE: Gay and Lesbian voices from the 1950s and 1960s. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Lorde, A. (1990). I am your sister: Black women organizing across sexualities. In G. Anzaldúa (Ed.), Making face, making soul/Haciendo caras: Creative and critical perspectives by feminists of Color (First edition, pp. 321 – 325). San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books.

Lorde, A. (2007). An open letter to Mary Daly. In Sister outsider: Essays and speeches (Reprint edition, pp. 66 – 71). Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press.

McLaren, P. (2008). Critical pedagogy: A look at the major concepts. In A. Darder, M. P. Baltodano, & R. D. Torres (Eds.), The critical pedagogy reader (Second edition). New York, NY: Routledge.

Stoler, A. L. (2002). Colonial archives and the arts of governance. Archival Sciences, 2, 87 – 109. Retrieved from