Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sam McGinnis Humanities and Social Science

Trans Visual Archives and the Pop-Up Museum

In recent decades, pop-up museums have been the site of both radical trans critique and the emergence of a highly commodified “selfie museum.” What is it about the pop-up— an ephemeral, shape-shifting installation of objects and artworks— that allows it to be harnessed by both trans activists/archivists and for-profit corporate sponsors? Why do these queered reimaginings occur in a historical moment saturated with neoliberal museum policies and increasing state surveillance of bodies? To examine these questions, I will utilise three key case studies of trans-led pop-ups from various colonial contexts, engage debates around gender and decolonization, and pose an anti-capitalist critique of the culture industry. SURF will allow me to develop a robust theoretical framework for a senior thesis by working through a reading list in three major phases: museology and the pop-up, contemporary trans studies, and trans-led pop-up museums in the US and Perú. Additionally, I will immerse myself in French language scholarship in order to determine a third case study from a French post-colonial context.

Message To Sponsor

I greatly appreciate the support provided by the Anselm Fund this summer. It allowed me to dedicate myself to full-time research, see my own work as meaningful and important, build community with other student researchers, and grow in my overall competency as a scholar. I especially want to thank my donor for their recognition that undergraduate research is valuable and warrants fair compensation, rather than payment in exposure or experience alone. This experience taught me a great deal about how to manage my own research projects going forward and has made me more confident in my intentions to pursue graduate research later in my life.
Profile image of Sam McGinnis
Major: Art History, Comparative Literature
Mentor: Anneka Lenssen
Sponsor: Anselm Fund
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