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WVRHC to host “Engaging the Queer Feminist Archive” discussion

The histories of traditionally marginalized groups have long gone unrepresented in archives. As part of its effort to reduce that disparity, the West Virginia & Regional History Center will host researcher and author Susan Ferentinos to discuss how to better represent LGBTQ+ communities in archival collections. The hybrid event will be from 3-4 p.m. today in the Milano Room in WVU’s Downtown Library and on Zoom.

To register for the Zoom presentation, go to

“Engaging the Queer Feminist Archive” is part of the WVRHC’s newly developed West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection. The growing collection works to capture the stories of West Virginia individuals and organizations who have fought for social justice and equity. Often, such activists are left out of the historical record for going against the status quo and/or having marginalized identities.

Ferentinos specializes in LGBTQ+ and women’s history. She’s written a book on interpreting queer histories and has worked with LGBTQ+ communities to help them preserve their stories.

“An understanding of the past is essential for building a rich and responsible future,” Ferentinos said. “LGBTQ+ narratives are often missing from archives. In the past, many institutions did not seek out or preserve queer histories due to the stigma surrounding these identities. The criminalization and oppression of LGBTQ+ individuals also made sharing their stories dangerous.”

At this event, Ferentinos will explore the challenges and possibilities that come with engaging queer histories and addressing this gap.

The West Virginia Humanities Council and WVU Humanities Center provided grant funding for the WVFAC. Those on the collection’s team continue to gather oral histories, papers and documents, and hold educational programs about their findings. If you would like to donate to the collection, contact Lori Hostuttler, interim director of the WVRHC, at