Seeking sex in the archives: Orientation, metadata, and sartorial fetish items
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This thesis seeks to illuminate how museums orient users towards clothing items associated with kink and fetish communities (sartorial fetish items) in their collections. Sara Ahmed’s queer phenomenological work guides this critical discourse analysis of metadata available on the websites of two archives that house such items. An exploration of the metadata at the Texas Fashion Collection and the Leather Archives and Museum found that how museums discuss these items, other queer items, and their collections as a whole shape how users perceive what might be housed in their archives. Likewise, an examination of the metadata available in the online archives of both cultural institutions found barriers to finding sartorial fetish items and suggests ways to utilized existing structures and tools in queer ways to engage the public with items and topics that are associated with sex and sexuality.