From Memory to Marriage: The Archive, Political Agency and the Advance of LGBTQ+ Rights in America

deadline for submissions: 
January 8, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
University of Southern California
contact email: 

Call for Papers

Special Edition, The European Journal of American Studies

Title: From Memory to Marriage:
The Archive, Political Agency and the Advance of LGBTQ Rights in America

Editor, Ben Alexander,



This is a reposting.  The special edition is advancing towards spring publication.  We are especially interested, however, in two areas of submission:


  • Essays / chapters that consider the general history of LGBTQ+ archives and propose assimilation into the advance of LGBTQ+ rights in America.
  • Essays / chapters that draw connection between the development of LGBTQ+ archives and changing images of LGBTQ+ in popular culture.     


If you are interested in submitting, please contact the editor at the above email address.

Project Overview

In 1950, Harry Hay established the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles, California. Hay described his society as a ‘homophile’ organization.’  In practice the Mattachine Society functioned as an institution of social justice providing advocacy and legal recourse to the LGBTQ community.  In 1955 Daughters of Bilits was established in San Francisco.  DOB is the first organization in the United States dedicated to the advocacy and protection of the civil rights of lesbians.

In 2011 the Mattachine Society established a research center in Washington D.C. with the explicit purpose of providing opportunity and assistance for archival research into LGBT political history.  Between 2011 and 2012 the Daughter of Bilitis Recorders were processed at UCLA.

The synergy of dates is important.  Empirically speaking the dates suggest a unity of archival practices beginning with community based initiatives and evolving into coordinated record keeping practices that unified a national civil rights movement to (at present) a shared investiture in the preservation of and access to the history of interaction between LGBTQ cultures and American culture generally.

During these same years LGBTQ cultures in America evolved from a deeply cloistered community threatened by legal action and often smeared as evidence of vast communist conspiracy to a culture that (generally speaking) is openly expressed and even celebrated.


 Submission Guidelines


We are soliciting essays representing diverse perspectives on how the evolution of archival practices and activist practices manifest in American political culture, popular culture, activists culture etc.  While an archival perspective (broadly conceived) is expected authors are free to explore evolutions in LGBTQ cultures in America.  Authors may consider exchanges or influences shared among civil rights movements (African-American, environmental, women etc.) or may focus on the impress of specific memory projects (Aids Memorial Quilt, Becoming Visible exhibit at New York Public Library).  Study of the history of LGBTQ archives from community project to prized additions to prestigious institutions are welcome.  Study of public memorials or statues as well as the examination of individual activists engaged in memory practices (broadly conceived) are similarly welcome.