Peggy Glowacki, special collections librarian (left), and Queer Asian American Archive project student research assistants Naomi Salcedo (center) and Vicky Tai (right) in the special collections section of the Daley Library at UIC. Click on image to download. Photo: S. K. Vemmer
The Queer Asian American Archive project based at the University of Illinois at Chicago is seeking materials for a new collection aimed at preserving local Asian American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history.
Project organizers welcome donations of various items, such as newspaper and magazine articles, photos, posters, event programs and other memorabilia.
Laura Fugikawa, founder and co-director of the project, was inspired to establish the archive upon discovering that she and her students had limited research options when seeking queer Asian American archival material in Chicago and the Midwest.
“As someone who often uses archival material in my own research, I am very conscious of what is, and is not, gathered and collected,” said Fugikawa, visiting assistant professor of Asian American studies and gender and women studies. “I want students 50 to 100 years from now to have access to the wonderful things local Asian American LGBTQ groups have been doing.”
Fugikawa and project co-director Liz Thomson, interim director of the UIC Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, are currently working with student research assistants to build the collection and elicit community involvement. Future plans include collecting oral histories for the collection.
The archive, which will be housed at UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library, is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall and will be available to students, faculty and the public for study and research.
Initial archival materials have been provided by project partner Invisible to Invincible: Asian and Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, a community-based organization that celebrates and affirms local Asians and Pacific Islanders who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer.
“We hope that collecting and increasing the accessibility of these materials will allow the archive to serve as a key educational resource on matters regarding Chicago’s Asian American LGBTQ community,” Thomson said.
Project partners from UIC are the Asian American studies program and the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center.
Funding for the project is provided by the UIC Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution grant initiative, which is fully underwritten by the U.S. Department of Education.