BKS2000H Final Paper Proposal Presentation: Gift Economy, Anarchy, Archives, and UbuWeb


#DigitalArchives, #InterfaceArchives, #AutonomousArchives, #GiftEconomy, #AvantGarde, #UbuWeb, #Publics, #EmergentPublics,  #Community, #Activism, #Anarchy



“UbuWeb’s large, boundary-blurring archive of the avant-garde necessarily alters what is meant by avant-garde, a term saddled with the legacies of patriarchy, hegemony, imperialism, colonization, and militarization.…When you assemble a collection of the avant-garde, you run the risk of replicating everything wrong that is associated with it. In response, we deployed impurity as a way of muddying, détourning, and playfully reimagining the avant-garde, twisting and warping the rigorous, hard-baked grids of modernism into something more fluid, organic, incorrect, and unpredictable” (About Us, UbuWeb)

“UbuWeb is a purposely unstable library, a conflicted curation, an archive assembled by embracing the fragmented, the biased, the subjective, and the incomplete” (About us, UbuWeb)

“UbuWeb can be construed as the Robin Hood of the avant-garde, but instead of taking from one and giving to another, we’re giving to all. UbuWeb is as much about the legal and social ramifications of its self-created distribution and archiving system as it is about the content it hosts” (About Us, UbuWeb)

Potential Avenues of Research UbuWeb

Although I am still working through what I want to argue, I am interesting in looking

(1) at the ways UbuWeb is or is not a digital archive;
(2) at the ways it participates in gift economy;
(3) at the ways it potentially disrupts or mimics avant-garde philosophies;
(4) at the ways it is or is not limited as a digital archive;
(5) and at the ways it disrupts or mimics ‘traditional’ and sometimes problematic concepts associated with archives.

Inspired my Joel Harrisons article, “Web Poetics and the Gift Economy: Nzepc, PennSound and UbuWeb.”


Abramson, Bruce. Digital Phoenix: Why the Information Economy Collapsed and How It Will Rise Again. MIT Press, 2006. 

Cheal, David. The Gift Economy. 1st ed., Routledge, 1988.

Drucker, Johanna. “The Back End: Infrastructure Design for Scholarly Research.” The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 2017, pp. 119-113., doi:10.5325/jmodeperistud.8.2.0119. 

Goldsmith, Kenneth. Duchamp Is My Lawyer: the Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb. Columbia University Press, 2020. 

Harrison, Joel. “Web Poetics and the Gift Economy: Nzepc, PennSound and UbuWeb.” Ka Mate Ka Ora: a New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics, vol. 2, 2006, pp. 5–21. 

Kotin, Joshua. “Digital Archives, Avant-Garde Periodicals: An Introduction.” The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 2017, pp. v-viii., doi:10.5325/jmodeperistud.8.2.v. 

Moore, Shaun and Pell, Susan. “Autonomous Archives.” International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, June 2010, pp. 255 – 268., doi: 10.1080/13527251003775513

Monks-Leeson, Emily. “Archives on the Internet: Representing Contexts and Provenance from Repository to Website.” The American Archivist, vol. 74, no. 1, 2011, pp. 38–57., doi:10.17723/aarc.74.1.h386n333653kr83u.

Owens, Trevor. “What Do You Mean by Archive? Genres of Usage for Digital Preservers.” What Do You Mean by Archive? Genres of Usage for Digital Preservers | The Signal, 27 Feb. 2014, blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2014/02/what-do-you-mean-by-archive-genres-of-usage-for-digital-preservers/.

Sellie, Alycia, et al. “Interference Archive: a Free Space for Social Movement Culture.” Archival Science, vol. 15, no. 4, 2015, pp. 453–472., doi:10.1007/s10502-015-9245-5. 

UbuWeb, ubu.com/.

Velios, Athanasios. “Creative Archiving: A Case Study from the John Latham Archive.” Journal of the Society of Archivists, vol. 32, no. 2, 2011, pp. 255–271., doi:10.1080/00379816.2011.619705. 

Die, Colonialism, Die! 


 This week, I would like us to discuss David Garneau’s and Clement Yeh’s Apology Dice. This artwork problematizes not only the notion of apology as it relates to the Truth and Conciliation project but the Truth and Reconciliation project as a whole. Because the Apology Dice refutes stagnation, requires individuals to engage with (re)conciliation individually yet collectively, and demands that people share their own feelings and thoughts through play and conversation, I argue that it is counterintuitive for me to have a fixed and stated thesis. Instead, I have attempted to digitize the dice so that we might experience Apology Dice

Furthermore, David Garneau argues that “the colonial attitude, including its academic branch, is characterized by a drive to see, to traverse, to know, to translate (to make equivalent), to own, and to exploit. It is based on the belief that everything should be accessible, is ultimately comprehensible, and a potential commodity or resource, or at least something that can be recorded or otherwise saved” (29). As such, my refusal to state an argument regarding Apology Dice is as much a refusal to engage with the colonial way of doing academia as it is about hoping to mimic the unstable dynamics of the dice.

In my presentation, I will, however, further discuss the concept of reconciliation and conciliation initially introduced to us by David (thanks David!), so I ask all of us to think about whether reconciliation is necessary to decolonization and whether decolonization is necessary to reconciliation. 

Apology Dice, David Garneau and Clement Yeh

Apology Dice is a conversation starter” (David Garneau, “Apology Dice: Collaboration in Progress,” The Land We Are, 78)

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Materials:  cedar, danish oil, laser-cut text, blanket, participants, 3 editions of 3 dices, 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ each

Die 1: I am / We are / They are / I am / We are / They are
Die 2: so / fairly / really / not / somewhat / deeply
Die 3: sorry / sorry / sorry /sorry / tired of this / sorry

An unauthorized digital version of David Garneau’s and Clement Yeh’s Apology Dice

My results:


No thesis? 

“The colonial attitude, including its academic branch, is characterized by a drive to see, to traverse, to know, to translate (to make equivalent), to own, and to exploit. It is based on the belief that everything should be accessible, is ultimately comprehensible, and a potential commodity or resource, or at least something that can be recorded or otherwise saved” (David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,”29 )


Reconciliation or Conciliation? 

“[C]onciliate is defined as: 

  1. to overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over…
  2. to win or gain (goodwill, regard, or favor).
  3. to make compatible…
  4. to become agreeable.”(Amagoalik quoted in David’s slides)

“‘As someone raised Catholic, I cannot help but notice an ironic religious nuance in the choice of the word ‘reconciliation’ rather than ‘conciliation’ in ‘Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Journey.'” (,David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 34).

“‘Conciliation’ is ‘the action of bringing into harmony.’ It is an extrajudicial process that is a ‘conversion of a state of hostility or distrust’; ‘the promotion of good will by kind and considerate measures’; and ‘peaceable or friendly union.'”(David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 34).

“Reconciliation refers to the repair of a previously existing harmonious relationship [which]  imposes the fiction that equanimity is the status quo between Aboriginal people and Canada” (David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 34).

‘”Reconciliation implies a very different imaginary, one that carries such profound affective and historical meanings that it seems a deliberate tactic in the ongoing assimilationist strategy of the Canadian empire. Whether the choice of this word, imaginary, and process is an accidental inheritance, it is ironic, if not sinister, that survivors of religious residential schools, especially Catholic ones, are asked to participate in a ritual that so closely resembles that which abused them.
             In its religious context, Reconciliation is ‘the reunion of a person to a church.’12 Reconciliation is a sacrament of the Catholic Church. It follows Confession and Penance. According to Vatican teachings, ‘Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labours for their conversion.’ This text is found in ‘The Sacraments of Healing’ section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Reconciliation here, as in the secular colonial version, ignores pre-Catholic or pre-contact Aboriginal states”   (David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 35).

“I remain convinced that the official Truth and Reconciliation is primarily a non-Indigenous project designed to reconcile settlers with their dark history in order that they might live in this territory more comfortably and exploit these lands more throughly” ( David Garneau, “Apology Dice: Collaboration in Progress,” The Land We Are, 74). 

Works Cited

Amagoalik, John. “Reconciliation or Conciliation? An Inuit Perspective.”
Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential Schools, edited by Shelagh Rogers et al., Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2012, pp. 35-43. 

“Apology Dice.” Makerbros.com, cargocollective.com/makerbros/Apology-Dice. 

Howarth, David. “Showing Practice for Conciliation: Documenting an Education of Attention in Tia and Piujuq (2018).” ENG5732H S Visual Sovereignty and the Politics of Reconciliation: Inuit Oral, Visual, and Collaborative Narrative, 10 March 2021, University of Toronto.  

Garneau , David, and Clement Yeh. “Apology Dice:  Collaboration in Progress .” The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, edited by Sophie McCall and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, ARP Books, 2015, pp. 73–80.  

Garneau , David. “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation .” West Cost Line # 74: Reconcile This! , vol. 46, no. 2, Summer 2012, pp. 27–38.  

“Introduction .” The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, by Sophie McCall and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, ARP Books, 2015, pp. 1–19. 


The Far-Right, New Terminology, and the Power of Absence (working title)

Thesis: HELP!

I want to look into the ways social media has given the far-right the space to create new terminology while policing and censoring the left. This dynamic is the same in the ‘real world’ i.e. the non-digital world.  I suggest that the terminology created by the far-right is often (if not always) offensive and derogatory towards those who are not white, cisgender, male, able-bodied, neurotypical, straight, and/or of European descent. In other words, the terminology created by the far-right often upholds imperialist and patriarchal values. On the other hand, the terminology created by the left are words created to explain lived experiences and identities that have often been excluded from hegemonic narratives. Furthermore, in my essay, I also want to look into how the new words created by the alt-right work as ‘sign-posts’ to their members, thereby allowing them the opportunity to create networks.  Contrarily, the left has to find ways to subvert the act of being censored and are not so readily given the opportunity to create new words and to form communities. I suggest that the left subverts being censored by politicizing their ‘absence.’



The alt-right is creating its own dialect. Here’s a complete guide — Quartz
Far-right extremists appropriate Indigenous struggles for violent ends – High Country News


Nikhil Sonnad and Tim Squirrell highlight that the term “femoid” was created in March 2017 and first used on Reddit. It is meant “to describe women as sub-human or non-human” (Squirrell).

@mr.skeletor:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BqvdbufFxBZ/




Shina Novalinga

Throat Singing video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLxCgZcBlIs/
Video discussing censorship: 

Potential Outline 

  • Set-up the argument by discussing the Capitol Riots or maybe the Land O’Lakes butter logo change 
  • Discuss social media surveillance policies
  • Discuss how the alt-right is given the space to create terms like femoid 
  • Discuss how the term settler is misunderstood
  • Discuss how Indigenous culture is policed / censored
  • Discuss how the ‘left’ highlights their censorship as a ‘push-back’ tactic (glitch feminism)
  • Conclusion


My current sources
Sources suggested to me by Professor Percy (thank you!)


  • Am I trying to do too much?
  • Am I trying to connect ideas that are not at all connected?
  • Should I focus on a different alt-right term than femoid? 
  • Should I focus on a different ‘leftist’ term than settler? I thought about Karen. 
  • Do you think I should simply focus on the words being created by the alt-right and what it means that they are given the space to do?
  • Should I focus on the term “settler” alone? 
  • Does anyone know any concepts that can help me tie together what I am trying to do? 
  • Is it productive for me to frame this as ‘left’ versus ‘right’? I don’t think so. For example, many Indigenous activists work outside this political framework. 
  • What do we think of my potential outline?




BKS2000H – Second Oral Presentation

ARTICLE: The Colonial Archive on Trial: Possession, Dispossession, and History in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia.

AUTHOR:  Adele Perry (Twitter: @AdelePerry)

KEYWORDS: Canadian History; Indigenous History; Colonization; Decolonization; Law; Archives;  Oral Stories; Wet’suwet’en; Gitksan; Delgamuukw v. British Columbia; Chief Justice Allan McEachern. 


This paper deals with the work of archives, documents, and history in contemporary politics about possession and dispossession in British Columbia. It does so through a close of reading of what is, to local scholars at least, a familiar source, and that is the 1991 decision by the then Chief Justice Allan McEachern in the provincial Supreme Court case on Aboriginal land rights known as Delgamuukw v. British Columbia” (326).


“The colonial archives can alternately and sometimes simultaneously work to defend or challenge the states that create and sustain them” (327).

The Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en are two distinct peoples that inhabit the territories around the Skeena, Bulkely, and Nechako rivers in what is now northwestern British Columbia. Like most North American peoples, Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en societies convey meaning, knowledge, and history through material and oral mediums. The most significant document in the oral archive of the Gitksan is the adwaak, the verbal records of a house and its history. The Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en kungax or song-series serves a roughly analogous function. The Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en have a substantial history of contact with and resistance to European encroachment, but little of it is documented with the kind of legal archives that have regulated dispossession elsewhere in northern North America and the antipodes” (327).



British Columbia’s Indigenous people in general and the Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en in particular entered the twentieth century with their Indigenous rights unacknowledged by the state and the particular archive—the treaty—that elsewhere marked colonialism’s small though significant recognition of Indigenous loss” (329).

“It was not their grievance but the scope of their claim that was new: the Gitksan and Wetsuweten asked the court to acknowledge their continued ownership and jurisdiction over a substantial part of British Columbia. This case rested on the argument that [Indigenous] sovereignty was intact unless explicitly otherwise agreed, documented, and archived; since the archive contained nothing that documented Gitksan and Wetsuweten people ceding their land to settlers or the state, Indigenous sovereignty remained in force. This argument had implications well beyond the local. At stake was British Columbia’s long history of denying [Indigenous] land claims and, ultimately, its status as a legitimate settler state” (331).

“The case was not simply a request for recognition, but a challenge for the Court to overcome notions of the superiority of Western culture and its methods of communication, preservation, and legitimation of knowledge” (331). 

Delgamuukw v. British Columbia was thus a literal challenge to the realpolitik of settler hegemony and a direct questioning of the historical methodology that documented, legitimated, and sustained it. It was, in the apt words of some local observers, colonialism on trial” (332).


The trial was a long one that was not only about archives but productive of one unto itself. There were 374 days spent in court and 141 days spent taking evidence out of court. It began in the northern community of Smithers in May 1987 and concluded in the southern metropolis of Vancouver in June of 1990. Sixty-one witnesses gave evidence, many using translators and others relying on ‘word spellers’ to assist with the Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en orthography. Another ninety-eight provided testimony through affidavits or other out-of-court means. After the trial’s completion McEachern commented on the vast amount of paper produced: 23,503 pages of transcript evidence from the trial, 5,898 pages of transcript evidence, 3,030 pages of commission evidence, and 2,553 pages of cross examination on affidavits, all preserved in hard copy and diskette. Roughly 9,200 exhibits were filed at trial, comprising an estimated 50,000 pages; there were 5,977 pages of transcript of argument. The province of British Columbia alone submitted twenty-eight of what McEachern called ‘huge binders’ with excerpts of exhibits referred to in argument, while the plaintiffs filed twenty-three” (332).

Yet it was not the scale and scope of the archive produced by the trial that led McEachern to reject the Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en case. It was what the plaintiffs knew about the history of British Columbia and how they knew it. Like Delgam Uukw, McEachern drew the conclusion that the content and methodology of the colonial past were irrevocably yoked. McEachern deemed the Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en view of the past too emotional and too political. ‘I have heard much at this trial about beliefs, feelings, and justice,’ he wrote, deeming these ‘subjective consideration’ that courts of law were unable to deal with (13). McEachern here adopts an analytic stance that privileges dispassionate and above all ‘objective’ accounts, a stance that is tellingly familiar to historians” (333).

It is of course no accident that the ontological link between orality and savagery on the one hand and literacy and civilization on the other occurred simultaneous to the rapid expansion of European territorial control and cultural hegemony over the non-Western world, including North America and the antipodes” (333).

Those who write and preserve their writing in what Begg calls ‘records’ have history and those who do not have only the misty netherworld of myth. The written archive is here the adjudicator of empire, deciding whose histories, and thus territorial claims, are legitimate and whose are not” (334).

“The diffculty of holding up this rule in a court case primarily about the past of an oral culture was grudgingly recognized by McEachern, who in a preliminary ruling decided the ‘the oral history of the people based on successive declarations of deceased persons was admissible.’ He made this decision, not because he had any particular faith in the oral archive, but because of the pragmatics produced by the legal pluralism that generally characterize imperial regimes. ‘Where there is no written history,’ he wrote, ‘such evidence satisfied the test of necessity.’ Here McEachern does not validate the oral archive as much as he accords it a limited utility in instances where there is no documentary alternative. Thus the practice of colonialism forced a modification in documentary regimes, but it was only a partial one. Oral evidence was also singled out for special considerations of weight. Evaluating oral testimony, according to McEachern, necessitated a distinction between history, myth, and anecdote, one he insisted on making in the face of the Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en’s counsel’s exegesis of E. H. Carr” (334).

“The trial challenged his faith in the ‘convenient but simplistic distinction between what European-based cultures would call mythology and ‘real’ matters’ but reinforced his conviction that textuality was a crucial signpost of civilization” (335).

McEachern adopts the voice of the historian as well as that of the traveler” (337).

The Judgment includes two lengthy historical narratives that might well be taken for a textbook of British Columbia history written between 1880 and 1945″ (338). → The first historical narrative begins with a dismissive nod to ‘the fascinating questions of Viking or other Norse-type explorations’ and quickly moves on to what has traditionally been the originary point of European histories of North America and the ‘new world’ in general, and that is European men’s ‘discovery’ of them” (338).


“Gitksan and Wet􏰀suwet􏰀en observers emphasized that Delgamuukw was one incident in a long history of imperial betrayal and that McEachern was merely the most recent colonial authority to refuse to acknowledge the existence and validity of Indigenous cultures, claims, and archives” (340).

This was a studied ignorance that some saw in distinctly gendered terms. A member of the litigation team, Dora Wilson-Kenni, remarked that the fact that McEachern’s decision was delivered on International Women’s Day was highly symbolic, ‘just like slamming our matriarchal system’” (340).


“In 1997 the Supreme Court of Canada reversed McEachern’s judgment on appeal” and “they did so on essentially archival grounds [which] is worth noting. While they did not find explicit fault with British Columbia’s Court legal decision, they did argue that McEachern had not paid sufficient attention to the oral archive. In doing so they both overturned the 1991 decision and made arguing Indigenous cases on the basis of oral evidence newly possible” (345). 

More information on Wet’suwet’en land defenders and land claims 


Example of how absences in the archive can challenge the nation-state. 

“This case rested on the argument that [Indigenous] sovereignty was intact unless explicitly otherwise agreed, documented, and archived; since the archive contained nothing that documented Gitksan and Wetsuweten people ceding their land to settlers or the state, Indigenous sovereignty remained in force” (332).

Example of how the colonial archive can simultaneously challenge and uphold colonial beliefs. 

For better or for worst, there are now more oral stories that have been archived (I say for better or for worst because what does it mean to have oral stories written down — does it limit them in some capacity?)

Delgamuuks versus British Columbia is an example of how easily traditional archives can be manipulated to uphold the nation-state. 

Chief Justice Allan McEachern played the ‘historian,’  in so doing he upheld colonial history. 

In his preliminary ruling, McEarchern decided that “‘the oral history of the people based on successive declarations of deceased persons was admissible.” (334).  However,  he sought to dismiss the oral texts in his final ruling.

McEarchern upheld the belief that there’s a type of  “ontological link between orality and savagery on the one hand and literacy and civilization on the other (333).

“Those who write and preserve their writing in what Begg calls ‘records’ have history and those who do not have only the misty netherworld of myth. The written archive is here the adjudicator of empire, deciding whose histories, and thus territorial claims, are legitimate and whose are not” (334).


RICARDO L. PUNZALAN  – “‘All the things we cannot articulate’: colonial leprosy archives and community commemoration”  → “Two views of archives seem to be most prominent. On the one hand, archives are sources of evidence about the past suitable to be harvested or mined by historians and other arbiters of knowledge about the past. On the other hand, there are an increasing number of claims that archives are the embodiment of and repository for society’s collective memory” (213).

ANN LAURA STOLER – “Colonial Archives and the Arts of Governance” → “As part of a wider impulse, we are no longer studying things, but the making of them” (89). → “For however deep and full the archival turn has been in post-colonial scholarship of the 1990s, what is more surprising is how thin and tentative it can still remain” (90).

BURTON, ANTOINETTE –  “Archive Stories Gender in the Making of Imperial and Colonial Histories” → “By drawing attention to the lived experience of imperial archives, I want to address a dimension of imperial history rarely talked about: the role of such places in shaping the imaginations of historians who rely on them for the stories they tell, the (counter)narratives they craft, and the political interventions they make” (95). → “All manner of impediments produced originally by the protocols of colonial government continue to structure the research experience. As one male historian observed, ‘Non–European women are harder to locate in colonial archives because they’ve been erased from the official records, often not named at all, or only named in partial or anglicized ways that make it difficult to determine their personal identity and social status.’”(100)

BKS2000H – First Oral Presentation

ARTICLE: Records and their Imaginaries – Imagining the Impossible, Making Possible the Imagined

AUTHORS:  Anne Gilliland and Michelle Caswell

KEYWORDS: Affect – Archival Imaginaries – Cultural studies – Evidence – Human Rights – Imagined Records – Impossible Imaginary Archives –  Imagined Records 

KEY PASSAGES: Reading Notes


Wild Nights with Emily


“We argue that the roles of individual and collective imaginings about the absent or unattainable archive and its contents should be explicitly acknowledged, in both archival theory and practice. What we are calling impossible archival imaginaries and the affect associated with the imagined records produced within those imaginaries, offer important affective counterbalances and sometimes resistance to dominant legal, bureaucratic, historical and forensic notions of evidence that so often fall short in explaining the capacity of records and archives to motivate, inspire, anger, and traumatize” (56).


Arjun Appadurai: “The world we live in today is characterized by a new role for the imagination in social life… The image, the imagined, the imaginary—these are all terms that direct us to something critical and new in global processes: the imagination as a social practice… The imagination is now central to all forms of agency, is itself a global fact, and is the key component of the new global order ” (58).

Jean-Paul Satre: “We treat imaginary objects as if they are real and ascribe all sorts of affects, beliefs and characteristics to them” (58).

“Sartre identifies four features of imaginative consciousness that distinguish the imaginary from perception and conceptual thought”(58).

The imaginative consciousness:

(1)  is a consciousness that makes present through reflection something absent;
(2) quasi-observed (i.e., it is imagined in its entirety);
(3) can be nonexistent, absent, existing elsewhere, or neither existing or non-existing;

(4)  and spontaneous (58) .

Claudia Strauss: “Psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychological anthropologists have delineated a variety of forms of cognition and awareness between knowledge of indisputable facts and complete lack of knowledge. These include explicit knowledge of imagined facts, implicit cultural beliefs, and dissociated, repressed, and fantasized knowledge, as well as experiences that are not internalized because they cannot be assimilated to any previous schema”  (61).


Archival Imaginaries: “the dynamic way in which communities creatively and collectively re-envision the future through archival interventions in representations of the shared past. Through the archival imaginary, the past becomes a lens to the future; the future is rooted in that which preceded it. Through the archival imaginary, the future can be conceived through kernels of what was possible in the past” (61).

Impossible Archival Imaginaries are similar to archival imaginaries but  “[impossible] archival imaginaries may work in situations where the archive and its hoped-for contents are absent or forever unattainable” (61).

Impossible archival imaginaries are impossible in the sense “that they will never result in actualized records in any traditional sense” even if they exist in relationship to actualized records (61).

As Gilliland and Caswell note, even if these impossible archival imaginaries might never be rooted in actualize material, “impossible archival imaginaries can be discerned at both psychological and social levels through personal, community, national, and societal imaginings” (61).

Examples: (1) Archives held by the Roswell UFO Museum in New Mexico, and (2) the archives related to the Cooper’s Donuts riot of 1959.


Example: the non-existent body camera footage of  Michael Brown’s murder.

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown — an unarmed Black man — was murdered by police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was acquitted.  Brown’s family started a campaign to mandate that all police officers be obligated to wear body cameras. They argued that if Wilson was wearing a body camera, it would have been impossible for him to be acquitted. 

Brown’s grieving parents created an “imagined record” — the imagined record is the footage from Wilson’s non-existent body camera.


 See Saiduya Hartman’s article “Venus in Two Acts”.

“Through critical fabulation, Hartman seeks both to disrupt the authority of existing evidence and ‘to imagine what might have happened to might have been said or might have been done’ (p.11). In this way, the figure of Venus becomes the author of a new, impossible and imagined archive, one in which she can tell her own story in her own voice. Thus even as Hartman laments the absence of a single autobiographical account of the Middle Passage by an enslaved woman, she simultaneously conjures up such an account as an imagined record authored by an imagined Venus that fills a crucial gap in the historical narrative. Here, the limits of the archive point to the current constraints (and future possibilities) of records as evidence; if Venus’s imaginary narrative can be willed into existence, Hartman seems to ask, can’t it also serve as evidence?” (67).

3 Ways Create Better CYBORG, PSEUDONYM, PILLAGE LAUD With The Help of Your Dog

Tomorrow, in one of my classes, I will be presenting on Pillage Laud by “Erín Moure.”

As the title page notes, “Pillage Laud selects from pages of computer-generated sentences to produce lesbian sex poems.” Since this is a quick, low-stakes presentation, I thought it would be fun if I experimented with technology for this presentation.

I put the paper I planned on reading in-class tomorrow through an online text reader. Below is the result.


Fun fact: the title of this presentation (and this blog post) was created by a online title generator. It asked me to enter key terms. I entered “cyborg,” “pseudonym,” and “Pillage Laud.” It gave me 300 titles. I asked a friend to choose a number from 1 to 300. They chose 173.

the end of an era: tinder.

During my Master’s, I decided to link my blog to my Tinder profile. Because I was researching what happens when different publics intersect, and because my blog hosts all of my thesis drafts, and because I was using my blog as a tool to track my progress during my MA, I thought it would be an interesting experiment. What happens when Tinder meets Academia?

Whenever someone on Tinder started a conversation by referring to my blog, I would screenshot their message.(You can find the results of this experiment here and here.)

While working on PhD applications, I attempted to do something similar. I wanted to track the progress of my PhD applications on my blog and link my blog to my Tinder profile. And although I did so, I didn’t update my blog as diligently as I did in my MA. Nevertheless, below you can find the screenshots of that experiment! 

I should add that I did end up applying to five PhD programs, and I have accepted an offer of admission to the University of Toronto’s Department of English PhD program.   

Also, I have recently delete Tinder, which means, my Tinder experiments have now come to an end.

Thank goodness. 


update on phd applications.

I saw a meme the other week. It was something like: “2019. Has it been good? Has it been bad? I don’t even know!”. I think that accurately sums up my year. 

I think like everyone else around this time of the year, I’m feeling the need to do an inventory of everything I’ve accomplished. However, I’m trying to resist the urge to neatly package my year. There’s been some highs, and there’s been some lows, and it’s been messy and chaotic, but it’s also been very fun, creative, and restful. This is why I haven’t posted in a bit. 

Nevertheless, one of the things this blog is suppose to do is hold me accountable in submitting my PhD applications on time. I’m happy to report that I did manage to apply to the University of Toronto on time!



I’m looking to submit the rest of my applications over the holidays! You can find the List of Schools I’ll be applying to here.

list of phd programs I want to apply to.

On September 8, I told myself I would post on this blog by September 15 a list of schools I want to apply to and of the requirements needed for each application. I’m excited to say I pulled together such a list; here it is! As I move forward, I plan to cut down the number of schools on this list to 6. 

This week, I want to start brainstorming, researching, and pulling together material so that I can start to draft a “Statement of Intent”.

I plan to post about my progress on September 22, 2019