The Queer Studies (QS) program at Denison University has been in existence since 2000. In 2009 it was threatened with dissolution, but emerged from the experience with a renewed commitment to provide students with the possibility for general education and concentration classes that address issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identity, history, and struggle articulated through a variety of disciplines. A passion for the material and the desire to make it available to students at Denison has led interested professors to teach Introduction to Queer Studies, Queer Theory and many other cross-listed classes. The program is thriving, with clear and sustained interest on the part of the students. There are approximately 10 concentrators each year, as well as a continuing enthusiasm for QS course offerings.
The Expanding Archive would function as both a curated environment, visible as an external website accessible through the Queer Studies homepage as well as a larger database of information that would be visible only to Denison community. This way of working would enable material to accumulate and grow through contributions from courses, as well as serve as research material possibilities for current students.This separation of material would address some of the privacy issues, as well as the larger question of wanting to allow opportunity for the QS fellow (in conjunction with editorial board) to decide on what is curated into the portion visible to the world at large and accessible through the QS home page.
The act of storing information and creating an archive creates a sense of community and provides knowledge around that community. The Expanding Archive provides an important opportunity for students to both contribute to and use the research provided through course work and independent research by their peers. This is an opportunity for students to understand their work as part of a larger discourse, both for projects using an online platform for either presentation or access to an online audience. In this manner, the Expanding Archive becomes an important part of Denison students’ research, acting as an empowering tool for understanding that they have authorship and input into historical and contemporary acquisition and framing of information.