Mark S. Bonham Centre for
Sexual Diversity Studies

News

Professor Patrick Keilty discusses the Bonham Centre’s Sexual Representation Collection

June 27th 2019

“In writing about the need for the Adult Film History Project, Peter Alilunas and Dan Erdman describe some of the challenges that porn scholars face in the archive. They detail the lack of accessibility, perplexing metadata and filing protocols, the thin paper trail the adult industry leaves behind, conservative institutional politics, the low priority that archivists sometimes attach to pornography, and financial barriers to research. They note the existence of ‘unofficial’ materials related to adult film history that exist in all kinds of archives, often set aside on out-of-the-way shelves, uncatalogued, ignored, and forgotten. The Sexual Representation Collection (SRC) strives to provide a counter-archive at a major research university, whose mission to aid in the recovery and preservation of pornography, and to make it accessible to scholars and the general public, is inspired by the collection’s survival, over decades, thanks to the efforts of faculty, students, and donors, in the face of what at times seemed like overwhelming odds. That the collection survived at all is itself a form of queer survival, and perhaps one of the reasons why so many queer student workers over the years have felt such an attachment to it. Perhaps this explains, too, why such large pornography collections exist in LGBT archives, such as the ONE Archive in Los Angeles, CA, USA or the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archive in Toronto, Canada. The SRC remains a queer labour of love.”

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