The Queer & Now – Final Project Summary

For my final project I chose to submit a project proposal for the Spring semester course. I’m proposing a project called The Queer & Now: Archiving Queer Internet Discourse in Contemporary Russia.

As it stands, there is no archive or otherwise research being done on the state of Queer discourse in Russia. Russia, as a nation which is in socio-political-economic turmoil at present, also has a history of being homophobic at the government level, which has only worsened in the wake of the war on Ukraine. Queer Russians are fearing for their lives, and due to the internet bans and other sanctions, many Queer Russians aren’t able to talk to the outside world to say what’s going on or ask for help. This project seeks to repair that.

The Queer & Now will utilize ARCH (Archives Research Compute Hub), a new platform by the Internet Archive currently in beta, allows users to create collections of websites, scrape and archive the data from them, analyze the data, visualize it, and download/disseminate the data all within ARCH. Luckily for us, I’m in the pilot test group and have early (and FREE) access to ARCH.

I intend on working with a small group of people to archive contemporary Queer discourse that occurs primarily on Russian websites, although we will likely also collect data from primarily English-speaking or international websites as long as the discourse is in Russian. Archival materials on Queer discourse post-AIDs Crisis, especially from non-English, is incredibly rare, and I’d like to change that.

This project will likely be ongoing after the Spring semester, as ARCH lends itself to repeating data scrapes, however this will take a lot of hard-drive space to store all the data and that is my most limiting factor.

Results will be published on GitHub and Quarto for public use. This data would be incredibly useful not just for social media dissemination to spread awareness, and not just for historical documentation purposes, but also for linguistic analysis and, of course, sociological and gender studies papers galore.

1 thought on “The Queer & Now – Final Project Summary

  1. Maria F. Buitrago (she/hers)

    This is so interesting, would love to see how/where this project takes you & the final archive. Do you have any intention on documenting the archival process or have you started documented your own process so far? like the questions, issues and perspectives you expect to find or have found while investigating? Like your own positionality and how the material might affect your own ideas? I always find this so stimulating and useful, sort of walking through the researcher mind and the ethical/epistemological questions they propose. It’s super helpful for others. I also wanted to share that for another class I started reading “An Archive of Feelings” by Ann Cvetkovich and I find it so accesible and sensible. Wondering if you know of it? Also wondering what’s your theoretical approach? Would love to know & Congrats on your work!

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