In this panel, we present findings from the IMLS-funded Community-Based Archives the Power of Naming Practices research project in which we worked with four partner archives – South Asian American Digital Archive, SAADA; the Houston Area Rainbow Collective History, Houston ARCH; the Chicano/a Research Center at Arizona State University; and the Arizona Queer Archives, AQA.
We will define how we understand and deploy ‘naming practices’ and describe our research – to critically consider how we trace the provenance of the community-based archives themselves, as well as how these practices shape the mission, vision, collecting efforts, appraisal and description decisions within in each archival context. We will present focus group and interview excerpts to demonstrate the different relationships across community and institutional archival contexts and offer findings about origin stories and naming practices (J. Douglas, 2016), resource mobilization and sustainability concerns, archival metaphors of space (M. Caswell et al., 2018), and borderlands logic in community archival contexts (Anzaldúa, 1987; Licona 2012). Finally, we critically reflect on our qualitative research process using the coding software, Dedoose, to apply codes pertaining to archivists’ positionalities within a “community” versus “institutional” discourse.
We propose that a both/and approach offers a much more generative and promising analyses. We ask, what are the potential epistemological limitations of this thematic analysis methodology that partially relies on binaristic, hierarchical, and Western knowledge production?
Jamie A. Lee, School of Information, University of Arizona
Bianca Finley Alper, School of Information, University of Arizona
Aems Emswiler, School of Information, University of Arizona
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