CFP: Digital/Electronic Records and Underepresented Communities

Call for Proposals

Over the past decade or so, much academic and activist work focused on how archives function as apparatuses of power. Much of this writing considers the ways historically marginalized communities have had their history erased by collecting practices that ignore not only the documents those communities produce but also how they produce them.

Some scholars and activists, such as José Esteban Muñoz, point out how traditional archival practices exclude forms of sociality and evidence that are more informal, ephemeral, and underground than the those of more dominant groups or institutions. Historically, archival practice has not taken into account the communities and groups that are often denied access to or overlooked by traditional creators and holders of archival documents, such as government agencies, universities, or large nonprofits. This academic work posits that the histories of these communities are often neglected because the forms of the documents themselves and the relationships that produce them are not sufficiently valued or understood.

Many of the articles and blog posts on this topic have been mainly academic or activist in nature, but as a blog for the professional archivist, we hope to add our particular perspective as practitioners to these discussions, which is so often missing.  We want to focus on the technical issues that arise when digital archivists work to acquire, describe, preserve, and provide appropriate access to records created by communities that are organized, for example, around minority racial or ethnic identities, disability culture, religious minority communities, or gender and sexual diversity.  

We’re interested in real-life solutions by working archivists: case studies, personal stories, workflows, any kind of practical work with these collections describing challenges to the archival processes that attempt to acquire, preserve, and make accessible documents from marginalized communities.


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