So, y’all know me at this point- I’m much more casual when I write stuff regardless of what the thing is so that’s what we’re gonna be doing here. Let’s do this kindergarten style- what, why, how, who (we already know when and where). Also, limitations, but that didn’t fit into the cute little reference.
This project is seeking to document Queer Russian discourse from the modern internet age, around 2010 through now.
Three simple reasons:
- Modern Queer discourse is less valued and therefore less archived due to its reputation for rehashing old discourse (which in my opinion does not make it less valuable, rehashed or not).
- Very few resources documenting Queer discourse from non-Latinate languages exist, particularly for modern discourse.
- Russian Queer people are in explicit danger, and Russian’s access to the wider internet is now limited, so accessing information about what is happening in Russia and what is going on in the Queer community there at all is very difficult and even dangerous.
Using ARCH, a tool available to me via pilot testing currently, we can scrape website data in any format and create a collection of the archived sites using the tool.
Now, actually locating sites where Russian Queer discourse is happening is a hurdle of its own that will involve talking to Russians (probably just some of my friends, let’s be real). I’m also open to archiving things that are Russian language from primarily English-language platforms like Twitter, but the problem that comes with that is that the people having those discussions may not be native to Russia themselves, and it’s harder to figure that out from somewhere that’s not a .ru site. Furthermore, we may have to use a VPN and/or the TOR browser to access some of these sites, as well as protect our safety in doing what is essentially Queer journalism on a country that is an active threat to those people.
So, basically: find the sites, have ARCH scrape them and put them in a collection, then we make a cute little website to showcase everything.
This project also has the potential to be ongoing, however it may be best to make a collection that’s 2010-2023, and then in future years do 2023-2030 or what have you to separate things out by political events or something, might be easier to watch discourse unfold, etc.
-Ideally, a translator. Yes, I’m a linguist, and theoretically I could do this myself (but it would be hard and time consuming). Yes, I also know other native Russian speakers (who also happen to be linguists), but I can’t bother a bunch of PhD students and professors with this—we are all far too busy.
-Researchers—folks who would go out into the trenches and find whatever niche forum posts from the Russian internet they can, interview people to ask if they know where to find this kind of stuff, and give me those good good URLs. And as before, yes, this could also be me, but I am very tired and I’m just a little guy.
-An archivist—this one would actually have to be me–which I’m honestly stoked about–because I have access to ARCH and training in using it.
-Someone who can make a pretty little website! Again, this one theoretically could also be me, but good god can you imagine me doing this entire project myself??? The masochism of it all!
- Wow, safety! Um, yikes! This only occurred to me recently that this may make me a target. Not super excited about that idea, especially since this project would be made completely public. For anyone to find. With my name on it. And all my contact information.
- Speaking of safety… we’d have to come up with a way to safeguard identities of the people in these posts. In theory, once we have the collection we can redact names and website details, but that’s a lot of work to be done by hand since it can’t be programmed easily…
- Doesn’t this sound like a personal project though???? It really does. Like, it would be hard work, but it doesn’t really feel like it needs a group, and I don’t like thaaaat I want a proper group project!
Uhh that’s all from me folks! Let me know if you’re interested, I guess? An ending! Here is a way to end a post!