This session brings together four authors of recent books in archival studies that examine unique but entangled processes by which power circulates and is mobilized through archives. Together panelists discuss the processes and implications of book-length arguments for archival studies. Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work (Routledge, 2021) explores how minoritized, identity-based community archives can liberate the records in their care for temporal autonomy, self-recognition, and resource redistribution.
Michelle Caswell will talk about methods, including using empirical data to generate archival theory, and the process of writing a book from scratch (that is, not based on a dissertation).
In Viral Cultures: Activist Archiving in the Age of AIDS (Minnesota, 2022) Marika Cifor examines the archives that keep the history and work of AIDS activism alive and how contemporary activists, artists, and curators use records. Her talk will cover using archival ethnography and the process of developing a book from a dissertation for a university press and for an audience from across the humanities and social sciences.
In Producing the Archival Body (Routledge, 2021) Jamie A. Lee uses storytelling to center the body as an integral part of the productions and politics of archiving. Lee will walk through their writing experiences along with working in queer archives. They ask: how does power circulate and how is it deployed in archival contexts in order to build critical understandings of how archives influence and shape the production of knowledges and human subjectivities?
Documenting Rebellions: A Study of Four Lesbian and Gay Archives (Litwin, 2020) examines archives that were constituted with a common desire to preserve the memory and evidence of lesbian and gay people inluding the Lesbian Herstory Archives, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive, June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, and ArQuives. Rebecka Taves Sheffield will talk about using a narrative approach that draws from first-person accounts and archival research. She will also discuss the importance and challenges of writing for both academic and non-academic audiences.
Each book advances archival scholarship to engender more just praxis. Here, the authors address methods, theory, limitations, and future directions. Additionally, we will examine the growing significance of books in archival studies and make legible publication processes for emergent authors.
Michelle Caswell, University of California, Los Angeles
Marika Cifor, University of Washington
Jamie A. Lee, University of Arizona
Rebecka Taves Sheffield, Ontario Digital Service
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This session will be recorded and made available on AERI YouTube.