Abstract

This article considers the ways in which the constrictions of archiving bodies mirror the conscription of archival bodies. I advocate using transtemporal polyphony, irresolution, and ambiguity as a means to incorporate corporealities, historiographically intervening in lesser-known or seemingly “complete” queer histories. Drawing on state documents that usually exclude or suppress queer corporealities and from queer poetic fiction, I work to reanimate reading room intimacies. I offer the term de rigueur mortis to identify and disrupt the codified historical narrative of Progressive Era trans politician Murray Hall. Using Langston Hughes’s ASK YOUR MAMA, I document the ways in which ambiguity and irresolution provide space for queer performing bodies in the often heteronormative historiography of “the dozens.” Imagining and enacting queer historical futures requires us to reenvision tangible archival material; I discuss the role that a comedic ethics toward historiography might have in expanding our present-past for future-pasts to come.

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