Document Type



American Studies

Publication Date



Queer theory’s embrace of instability paints stabilizing practices as normalizing and unjust. Rather than upholding a stance of opposition by championing instability alone, what can be gleaned for queer theory by examining the tension of the in/stability dialectic? In this paper I reflect upon my own embodied experience as researcher within the social and spatial dimensions of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Informed by critical geographical studies and queer theories, I suggest that the usefulness of in/stability—all at once together and in conflict—is the work toward justice that results when Archives sits in the juxtaposition. The resultant practice of useful in/stability suggests a turn for queer theory as it illuminates a turn in queer analyses by examining and struggling with concepts rather than succumbing to binarial mores.


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Final published version available:

2015. Gieseking, J. Useful Instability: the Queer Social and Spatial Production of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Radical History Review [Queering Archives: Intimate Tracings issue], 2015(122): 25-37; doi:10.1215/01636545-2849504.