Alejandro Eduarte is a senior studying English at Harvard College. He was a Radcliffe Research Partner with Crystal Z Campbell and conducted research at the Schlesinger Library from September 2021 through November 2022 to support the production of the documentary The Disappearance of the Shere Hite, which recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary explores the life and work of Hite, a sexuality researcher who was particularly active in the 1970s and 1980s. She was a controversial figure at the time, and her contributions to sexuality studies and to the feminist movement are often overlooked. The documentary “expands our notion of who Shere Hite is” and gives credit “where credit is very much due,” says Eduarte.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time, the Library was closed to everyone except Harvard affiliates. Eduarte visited Hite’s archive two or three times per week for a year, and he was instrumental to the making of the documentary—so much so that the producers asked him to review in-progress cuts of the film and even invited him to work on a related project afterward.
The experience of working in a physical archive brought Eduarte closer to the subject matter. “I got a sense of how much knowledge she was constantly producing,” he says. “There were ideas for drafts everywhere. I found a program from an opera that she attended that had notes scribbled on it about something that she wanted to do in her work. Her mind was embedded, physically, everywhere I was looking.”
Sam Zuniga-Levy is the communications coordinator at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.