CFP: KULA, Special Issue on Endangered Knowledge

Special Issue: Endangered Knowledge

Guest editors:

Samantha MacFarlane, PhD Candidate, University of Victoria

Rachel Mattson, PhD, MLIS, Manager of Special & Digital Projects in the Archives of La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club

Bethany Nowviskie, MA Ed., PhD, Director of the Digital Library Federation (DLF) at CLIR and Research Associate Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Virginia

Abstracts and expressions of interest: rolling, through 31 October 2017

Deadline for final submissions: 31 January 2018


KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies is a new, peer-reviewed, open-access online journal, publishing multidisciplinary scholarship about the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge throughout history.

We seek abstracts for contributions to a special issue of KULA on “Endangered Knowledge,” to be published in early autumn 2018.

The stuff of cultural memory has forever been “endangered.” Threats to public access and to the long term preservation of records, data, objects, texts, and networks containing, transmitting, and enabling the production of knowledge come from many points of origin. Fire, floods, vermin and rot, war and political upheaval, poor planning, and the ravages of time have always posed risks. And dangers to the cultural record seem only to have multiplied with our growing reliance on digital information in rapidly proliferating formats and fragile networks, often under hostile regimes.

This special issue of KULA asks: How do we preserve and effectively disseminate knowledge in the face of environmental, political, financial, infrastructural, and related risks? The question is urgent across disciplines. Inspired particularly by recent initiatives addressing the precarious state of public information under the Trump administration—such as DataRefuge, PEGI, and Endangered Data Week—we invite contributions that explore issues related to endangerment as a critical category of analysis for records, data, collections, and networks. Submissions may treat the dissemination and preservation of material at risk of disappearing, whether through inherent ephemerality or environmental loss, lack of proper preservation measures and care, or deliberate erasure.

We invite abstracts of 300-500 words proposing short-to medium length scholarly articles, book or digital project reviews, teaching reflections and syllabi, or video and audio pieces from academics, artists, and practitioners working across disciplines and in any relevant fields. Based on abstracts, we will then invite the contribution of full submissions for peer review.

We encourage submissions on diverse aspects of endangered knowledge, including the types of information at risk and the implications of their loss; values governing the preservation of knowledge; the politics of data absence and destruction; and the methods and ethics of preservation and transmission. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • (Digital) preservation, curation, scholarship, and sustainability
  • Citizen science and social knowledge
  • Disasters, disaster planning, and threats posed by climate change, war, occupation, or genocide
  • Intangible culture and indigenous knowledge
  • Indangered languages and language revival, translation, and transmission
  • Departures, migrations, diaspora
  • The politics of data collection
  • Silences or gaps in the public record
  • State secrecy
  • Data as danger or threat: surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing
  • Privacy & ethics in data collection & records access, including the undocumented, the over-documented, and the right to know and be forgotten
  • Threat modeling and attempts to “rescue” data
  • Histories of lost or destroyed data, records, collections
  • Knowledge and research infrastructures, including libraries, repositories, digital infrastructure, information systems, and institutional and policy design
  • Information loss and copyright law; orphan works
  • Videotape and the “crisis” of magnetic media
  • Utopian or dystopian visions for endangered knowledge
Please submit abstracts to by 31 October 2017. KULA is an open-access journal requiring no author publication charges (APCs). Authors retain full copyright to their works, which will be published under a Creative Commons license.

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