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CDHI Lightning Lunch: Queer & Trans Art as Knowledge Mobilization

February 14 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST

Please join us virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, February 14, 12:00 pm on Zoom for the University of Toronto’s Critical Digital Humanities Initiative fourth Lightning Lunch of the 2023–2024 year on the topic of Queer and Trans Art as Knowledge Mobilization.

Lightning Lunches are short meetings over the lunch-hour featuring the work of three scholars on a theme in current critical digital humanities scholarship. Our speakers will address topics related to creative work and knowledge mobilization. How does creative work mobilize knowledge about queer and trans histories? What can digital humanities scholars learn from artists’ practices?

About our Speakers

Cait McKinney (Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University)
Title: Mail Art and the Sex Wars in Vancouver
Abstract: This talk will reflect on a mail art project by Cait McKinney and Hazel Meyer that used gossip and speculation to enliven archives related to feminist debates about porn in Vancouver in the 1980s.
Bio: Cait McKinney is Assistant Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University. They are the author of Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies (Duke 2020) and the forthcoming I know you are, but what am I? On Pee-wee Herman (Minnesota 2024). McKinney’s collaborations with the artist Hazel Meyer explore shared attachments to queer histories through writing, performance, video, and other archival interventions. 

Chris Vargas (Associate Professor of Art, Western Washington University)
Title: Introducing Museum of Trans Hirstory & Art
Abstract: In this talk Chris Vargas will talk about the political and cultural events leading to the creation enduring project the Museum of Trans Hirstory & Art. He will highlight the current volume, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects (2023, Hirmer), which spans over four centuries and brings together a wide-ranging selection of artworks and artifacts that highlight the under-recognized histories of trans and gender-nonconforming communities.
Bio: Chris Vargas is an artist and the founder of the “forever under-construction” Museum of Trans Hirstory & Art and he is co-editor of the volume, along with Christina Linden and David Evans Frantz of Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects. He is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital award and a 2020 John S. Guggenheim fellowship. 

Dallas Fellini (second year Master of Visual Studies student at the University of Toronto)
Title: Mnemonic Silences, Disappearing Acts: Artistic Responses to Archival Absence
Abstract: This presentation will look at Mnemonic silences, disappearing acts (2023-2024), an exhibition curated by Dallas Fellini at the Jackman Humanities Institute. Mnemonic silences, disappearing acts grapples with the absences, erasures, and censorships that colour the trans and queer archive. This presentation will consider artistic strategies of fiction-making, critical imagining, and revisionism as responses to histories of trans and queer people that are insufficient, compromised, colonial, or simply absent.
Bio: Dallas Fellini is a curator, writer, and artist, currently pursuing a Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto. Their research is situated at the intersection of trans studies and archival studies, interrogating the compromised conditions under which trans histories have been recorded and considering representational and archival alternatives to trans hyper-visibility. 

The discussion period will be moderated by Rachel Corbman, CDHI Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Data 2022–2024.

This event will be held virtually. Please register on Zoom.


February 14
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST
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Virtual (Zoom)


Critical Digital Humanities Initiative
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