Voices Out Loud
Voices Out Loud
Donna Braquet & Tamar Shirinian
The Voices Out Loud Project, directed by Donna Braquet, seeks to preserve East Tennessee’s LGBTQ+ history by collecting oral histories and artifacts, documenting the present (the history of tomorrow), as well as sharing and making this history publicly available. While scholars are uncovering and querying queer experiences, histories, subjectivities, desires, practices, and identities in the U.S. and around the world, these histories remain focused on particular well-known regions – the ‘gayborhoods’ of major cities like New York and San Francisco in the U.S., and other largely metropolitan centers throughout the globe. Voices Out Loud is interested in less-often told stories – those of rural queer lives and worlds that reveal intimate links with other experiences of life such as labor, race, class, and religion; small town not-so-visible and yet hypervisible queer politics; and the ways in which sexuality and non-normative desires complicate the histories of Civil Rights in the South. How does the inclusion of Knoxville’s, Tennessee’s, or the South’s queer stories problematize our understandings of queerness? What are the politics of voicing forgotten and silenced histories in this region? How might we understand the refusal to forget, to persistently remember and document, as an act of resistance, as a force of resilience, and as the making of new queer futures? These are some of the questions that are at the heart of what Voices Out Loud aims to contribute to the communities of East Tennessee and beyond.
Located in University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Hodges Library, soon to become a special collection, the Voices Out Loud archive is an ongoing project. Students and faculty are involved in digitizing materials for a wide online public, creating timelines and maps that parse out particular historical narratives, spaces, places, and events, as well as analyzing existing materials for a scholarly audience.
Shirinian joined the project in August 2016 and is currently supervising students who are archiving, transcribing, researching and collecting materials, or analyzing the materials of Voices Out Loud. Contact us to get involved!