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Friday, June 9 • 11:15am - 11:35am
Sinister Wisdom and its Archive as an Artifact of Community Publishing’s Transition from Print to the Internet

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The radical lesbian literary journal Sinister Wisdom made the transition from print only to online between 1998 and 2001—about 20 years after its first publication. This paper examines the history of that transition and of the journal's changing presence online. Learning from Melissa Rogers’s account of critical making as “[producing] space for modes of thought that put pressure on what matters in digital humanities scholarship and teaching,” I look at where and how Sinister Wisdom has been made available online and as data (234). While the journal remains in print, its website now features an open archive and database of past issues. Several private scholarly indexes and libraries record and make it available online as well. I will show that the distribution of Sinister Wisdom can be illuminated by the distinction between infrastructures and platforms, two concepts used in media studies to describe the relations enabled by the internet. Ultimately, I argue that Sinister Wisdom's website and database are as much archival artifacts as the journals themselves. A study of their production within a framework provided by critical making helps bridge the digital humanities and internet history in a way that considers the political commitments of Sinister Wisdom’s creators.

Rogers, Melissa. “Making Queer Feminisms Matter: A Transdisciplinary Makerspace for the Rest of Us.” Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities, edited by Jentery Sayers, University of Minnesota Press, 2017, pp. 234–48. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctt1pwt6wq.30. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.


Chelsea Clark

Graduate Student, Princeton University

Friday June 9, 2023 11:15am - 11:35am EDT
PS 405 (Design Center)