The idea of an archive—a place where historical materials are preserved—has come under scrutiny on the basis of its contents and context. Academics have asked: What defines an archive? Who or what controls an archive? How do we access these materials? What relationship do these records have to our ideas of history? How do physical archives relate to digital repositories? This course will conside the archive both as a space and as a concept and ask students to explore what role the archive plays in research. In our class, we will focus on the visual archive. Over the past decade, New York City institutions have begun to embrace radical ephemera; we see this in new collections like Barnard Zine Collection (2003), NYU's Riot Grrrl Collection (2009), and Brooklyn College Library's Zine Collection (2011). Through site visits and presentations by those who work with/in archives, students will learn how to conduct archival research while considering the question of which materials and experiences get archived. Documenting their own research process, students will create their own visual archive and contribute field notes to a class website. They will write a series of short essays in preparation for a research paper that examines a subject and its archival context. Readings may include works by Alison Bechdel, Ann Cvetkovich, Lisa Darms, Angela Davis, Jacques Derrida, Kate Eichhorn, Michel Foucault, and Alison Piepmeier.