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Wesley Chenault

Head, Special Collections and Archives

Associate Professor
Research and Learning, Special Collections and Archives

(804) 827-3576
James Branch Cabell Library, Room 314-U


  • Ph.D. American Studies, University of New Mexico, 2008
  • M.A. Women’s Studies, Georgia State University, 2007
  • B.A. Psychology, Auburn University, 1992
  • Archives Leadership Institute, 2011
  • Certification, Academy of Certified Archivists, 2010

Previous professional experience

  • Library Research Associate, Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, 2008-2011
  • Archivist, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center, 2004-2008
  • Assistant Project Archivist, National Endowment for the Humanities, Herndon Foundation, 2002-2004
  • Academic Professional, Women’s Collections, Special Collections and Archives, George State University, 2001
  • Archival Assistant, Women’s Collections, Special Collections and Archives, 1997-2000

Teaching experience

  • University of West Georgia
    • Advanced Archives Practicum, Department of History
    • Introduction to Archival Theory and Practice, Department of History 
  • University of New Mexico
    • Introduction to Gender Studies, Department of American Studies

Selected presentations

  • Chenault, W. (2014). Panelist at "The Gay South," Southern Historical Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. 
  • Chenault, W. (2014). Panelist at "Pop Tarts: Images of Women in Pop Culture," MARAC Spring Conference, Rochester, NY.
  • Chenault, W. et al. (2013). Untitled (books). Installation with idea collective John Q at Elsewhere Museum, as part of the Southern Constellations residency program, Greensboro, NC.
  • Chenault, W. et al. (2013). Embodying the archive (part 1): Art practice, queer politics, public history. John Q interview with Julia Brock for History@Work, a digital publication project of the National Council on Public History. 
  • Chenault, W. et al. (2013). The campaign for Atlanta: An essay on queer migration. Exhibition with idea collective John Q at Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum, Atlanta, GA.
  • Chenault, W. (2013). Speaker at “The Queer U.S. South and Southward: A Comparative Roundtable on Histories of LGBT Activism,” Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New Orleans, LA.
  • Chenault, W. (2012). Chair of panel discussion “Diversity in Archives,” MARAC Fall Conference, Richmond, VA.
  • Chenault, W. (2012). Panelist at “The Fight for Knowledge: Civil Rights and Education in Richmond,” Imagining America Conference, New York, NY.
  • Chenault, W. et al. (2012). Artist talk with idea collective John Q at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA.
  • Chenault, W. (2012). Chair of panel discussion "You, Me, We: Meeting Modern Challenges to Archives Through Collaboration," joint meeting of Archives Management and Lone Arrangers Roundtables, SAA Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Chenault, W. et al. (2012). Panelist with idea collective John Q at "Collaborative Practice and the Future of Memory," National Queer Arts Festival, San Francisco, CA.
  • Chenault, W. (2012). Moderator of post-play panel at "Wythe: A Drama in Black and White...and so much more," program, Henderson Middle School, Richmond, VA. 

Selected publications

  • Chenault, W. (forthcoming). An unspoken past: Atlanta lesbian and gay history, 1940-1970. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
  • Chenault, W. et al. (2014). Hearsay. Exhibition with idea collective John Q at Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.
  • Chenault, W. and idea collective John Q. (2014). The campaign for Atlanta: An act of research. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking.
  • Chenault, W. (2013). A queer new South city: Placing lesbians and gay men in mid-twentieth century Atlanta. Queer South rising: Voices of a contested place, ed. Ugena Whitlock. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Chenault, W., Barajas, S., Browder, L., Herrera, P., Schmidt, K. (2013). An archive, public participation, and a performance: Five perspectives. Public: A Journal of Imagining America, 1-2.
  • Chenault, W. (2012). Eliza Ann Grier (1864-1902). New Georgia Encyclopedia
  • Chenault, W. (2012). Male stereotypes and social class in the American South. New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, 20.
  • Chenault, W. (2011). Review of: Along the archival grain: Epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense. Provenance, 29.  
  • Chenault, W. (2010). Review of: Southern masculinity: Perspectives on manhood in the South since Reconstruction. Journal of Southern History, 76(3).
  • Chenault, W. and idea collective John Q. (2010). Discursive memorials: Queer histories in Atlanta’s public spaces. Southern Spaces.
  • Chenault, W. and idea collective John Q. (2010). Remember Me, Forget Me. The JOSH, 3. NY: Arts and Sciences Projects.

Selected university service 

  • Council for Community Engagement
  • Equality VCU
  • Grievance Board, VCU Libraries alternate
  • Faculty Senate, VCU Libraries alternate

Selected VCU Libraries service 

  • Development and Public Relations Coordinating Committee
  • Digital Preservation Committee
  • Management Council, Chair 

Professional organizations

  • Academy of Certified Archivists
    • Board of Regents, Secretary
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference
  • Society of American Archivists
    • Diversity Committee

Collection management subject areas

  • Archives and special collections 

Research interests

  • Archival studies; American studies; Southern studies; sexuality and gender studies; race relations; public scholarship

Community activities

  • Historic Jackson Ward Association 

VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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