Can the Archive Speak? Mapping Feminist and Queer Genealogies of Colour in the Netherlands

Frank, Chandra Nirmala. 2020. Can the Archive Speak? Mapping Feminist and Queer Genealogies of Colour in the Netherlands. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines the everyday experiences of people active within the Black, Migrant and Refugee (BMR) Movement (1980 – 2000s) in the Netherlands and the role of the archive therein. Based on sixteen months of multi-site archival research and interviews conducted with women active within the BMR Movement, I argue that practices and everyday manifestations of diasporic kinship, intimacy and queer forms of care inform and shape this intricate network of connections and exchanges. These articulations of belonging and creative interruptions trouble dominant ideas about race, sexuality and place in the wider Dutch context. The thesis includes an analysis of three significant BMR collectives, Flamboyant, Sister Outsider and Strange Fruit, to investigate everyday political experiences using the following themes: spatiality and belonging, transnational feminist exchange, intimacy and kinship, and queer of colour politics and cultural work. Subsequently, I provide two broader thematic contemplations on care and futurity addressing the ghosts, hauntings and queer aesthetics within the archive. By examining how archives are used, this project moves away from centring the archive as an end-goal for feminist and queer organising and emphasises the tensions in archival practice, memorialization, non-narrativity, and language that are embedded in the making of a BMR genealogy. Overall, I argue that the BMR movement does not constitute an ‘alternative’ or ‘counter-archive’, but rather disrupts what becomes legible as archive.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


archives, black, migrant and refugee movement, diaspora feminism, transnational feminism, queer of colour activism, kinship, care, futurity, The Netherlands, 1980s

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


31 December 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Jun 2021 13:18

Last Modified:

17 Jun 2021 13:18


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