Pornographic Provenance & Erotic Reactivations: Archiving Desire in Latin America

Friday 17 May 2024 , 2pm – 3pm

Knowles Room, Wadham College

Register via Eventbrite.

Through a personal and deeply interconnected foray through flea markets, bookstores, and archives, this talk explores the concept of “pornographic provenance” and erotic reactivations through archiving in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. It speaks to the assembling of an explicit Polaroid set from 1970s Mexico, a case of archival vandalism in 20th-century Peru, and pirated 19th-century British pornography in Cuba and Argentina, All with the goal of better stage and conversations around our effective, intellectual, and political stakes of “archiving the obscene”, both past and present.

tortorici zeb
Bio: Zeb Tortorici is an historian by training and associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at NYU. His monograph, Sins against Nature: Sex and Archives in Colonial New Spain_ (2018), received the John Boswell Award among other prizes. He recently coedited Turning Archival: The Life of the Historical in Queer Studies (2022) and two special issues of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (2023, 2024) on obscenity and libidinal politics. With the support of a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, he has been researching and writing Archiving the ‘Obscene’: Preservation and Destruction of Pornography in Latin America, 1700-1955 and working on a collaborative archive with the Mexico City-based Archivo El Insulto.

Moderators: Lucas De Lellis Da Silva (University of Oxford) and Sam Miller (University of Oxford)