Apr 19, 2013

What should the Kinsey Institute do with its films?

Curating Moving Images:  How [Not] to Curate Stag Films                                 

What should the Kinsey Institute do with its films?



Read:  Linda Williams, "'White Slavery' versus the Ethnography of 'Sexworkers': Women in Stag Films at the Kinsey Archive," The Moving Image 5.2 (2006): 106-35. 

 Does withholding a study copy of the film KKK Night Riders from a prominent, invited researcher constitute a violation of principled archival practice?  Or is the Kinsey Institute Film Archive justified in keeping items in its collection out of the hands of researchers?  Who has the better argument, the scholar or the archivist?  Should institutions put restrictions on access to some items and not others?  What kind/s of access are possible? wise? Is the Kinsey different from most other archives?  Should curators and archivists make restrictions on a case-by-case basis?  Should some types of users be given special privileges, while other types of users are denied access?


Prepare for a debate in which you either defend or refute this resolution:


Resolved:  The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University should make the works in its Film Archive more accessible to researchers. 


We will not attempt a conventional debate with teams debating one another.  Instead, each of you will prepare to argue for one side or the other. Prepare by not only reading the article, but clarifying for yourself the facts of the case.  Build your arguments from those facts, as well as from general principles.

            The debate will begin with each person giving a one-minute statement in which you defend your assigned position.  You should write this out in advance and read it aloud when called upon.  If you do not write a statement, be prepared to speak in complete sentences with a well-thought-out minute of talk.  

            After the opening statements, the moderator will pose questions to individuals.  Each response may be rebutted by a member of the opposition (either by a volunteering member or by someone the moderator calls upon).     


Finally, Williams ends her essay by asserting:


Scholars and students should be able to screen and study the history of stag films through the greater access to the Kinsey collection.  It is no longer enough to be able to view stag films on Kinsey Institute premises at Indiana University in private screenings. The stag film heritage needs the collaboration of scholars and archivists to preserve and study a body of work that has been far too long neglected.


We will conclude by stepping out of debate mode to pose the question differently:  Might "the collaboration of scholars and archivists" resolve the access dilemma?  If so, what form should this collaboration take? 

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