The 1960s and 1970s witnessed an explosion of transnational exchanges between women from the global north and global south, conjuring up new and powerful imaginaries of social justice and forever altering the landscape of movements for sexual and gender justice. Deeply impacted by world events such as the 1968 student protests and strikes for racial justice and indigenous and ethnic representations, against the war in Vietnam, and in solidarity with anticolonial struggles across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, North American women and LBT subjects turned transnationally to search for and make cross-border networks and alliances in unprecedented ways. At the same time, diasporic, immigrant, and exiled women from the global south emerged as leaders of the women’s, LBT and anti-racist movements in the U.S. and Canada. Key liberation political movements unfolded internationally – including the Algerian anti-colonial movement, the Palestinian resistance movement, Pan Africanism, Anti-Apartheid, and the indigenous land rights and anti-imperialist movements in settler colonies such as the Americas, Israel, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.
Seeking to re-politicize dominant historiographies of 1960s and 1970s feminist and queer movements and their relevance for contemporary global social justice struggles, this research group will re-read the archive of 1960s and 1970s feminist and queer internationalisms. Engaging what are commonly understood as US histories of the 1960s and 1970s women’s and queer movements, we aim to highlight the international dimensions that were already present, arguing for the ongoing practical and theoretical relevance of these perspectives to contemporary transnational feminist and queer social justice movements.
While radical, critical autonomous feminist and queer of color, and of all colors, subjects and movements left various traces of their theories and practices in alternative journals, leaflets, posters, pictures, poetry, artwork, music, personal writings, and the like, much of this radical thinking and set of practices has not been systematically engaged. Some of their analytics, discourses and materials have been archived, but mostly they have not. In the aftermath of these struggles, the very existence of these subjects and movements has been largely erased in dominant feminist and queer historiographies. Direly needed for global social justice struggles today, this knowledge is crucial.
The Living Archives Working Group plans to challenge this erasure by engaging in the study and the construction of oral histories on the overlapping archive of women’s movements, LBT movements, Black Panther, Third Worldism, Latin American and Arab revolutionary anti-imperialisms and pan-Africanism of the 1960s and 1970s. We will convene periodically to share our distinct but overlapping research projects on anti-colonial movements in Africa, Latin America, and the Mediterranean, and their inter-articulations with anti-racist feminist and LBT activism in the United States, and particularly Indigenous, Black, Latina, Asian, Arab, and Muslim Power and anti-colonial movements.