Call for Contributors: Transforming the Authority of the Archive: Undergraduate Pedagogy and Critical Digital Archives

Co-editors, Charlotte Nunes (Lafayette College Libraries) and Andi Gustavson (Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin)

We seek abstract proposals for contributions to an edited collection exploring how archives-based undergraduate pedagogy transforms the institutional authority of the archive.  We are proposing the collection to the peer-reviewed, open-access, digitally-native Lever Press in association with Fulcrum, a scholarly communications platform that allows for flexible multimedia research publication.  As such, we welcome contributions that may involve multiple media formats.

This edited collection will include perspectives from educators, archivists (both community- and institutionally-affiliated), and undergraduates involved in efforts to deconstruct and transform the institutional authority of the archive.  We will examine how these efforts and the evolving core values of higher education mutually influence each other.  How can emergent best practices in community-based digital archiving inform productive shifts in undergraduate pedagogy?  How can we transform our pedagogy to better prepare students to ethically engage with the digital archives they encounter and create?  And how can these transformations newly express the core values of higher education?

We seek contributions that frame archives-based pedagogy in terms of opportunities for students to find value in difference, seek equity, and practice collaboration. Contributions might touch on:

  • strategies for exposing students to critical debates in the archives field about access and discovery, community-led archiving, redescription efforts, metadata standards, deaccessioning protocols, etc.

  • practices to encourage critical engagement with the ethical challenges posed by working with digital archives: where are the gaps and absences in the digital record, what are the barriers to access, and what are the potential gains and risks of placing primary sources in digital environments?

  • projects that read archives against the grain in order to highlight perspectives that have not historically been centered in collection-building, but that are very much present in the archives.

  • collaborations to build more comprehensive collections where gaps and silences exist.

  • challenges and opportunities presented by the digital realm, which reduces barriers to access in some areas while raising new barriers in others.

Other topics contributors might address include (but are not limited to):

  • Postcustodial archives and pedagogy

  • Trauma-informed pedagogy and approaches to teaching and building digital archives that reflect histories of violence

  • Critical data modeling of archival collections

  • Teaching computational methods to surface patterns at scale in digital archival collections; “collections as data

  • Building sustainable collaborations between classrooms and community partners that extend beyond the single term

  • The rights of student collaborators on public-facing digital archival projects

  • Challenges and opportunities for students learning in new digital environments

Contributions will be prioritized for inclusion that include perspectives from current or former undergraduate collaborators, or that include these collaborators as co-authors.  Please send 300-500 word abstracts to co-editors Charlotte Nunes (nunesc@lafayette.edu) and Andi Gustavson (agustavson@utexas.edu).  Review of abstracts will begin April 1, 2019.

See also our MLA 2020 Special Session CFP, Transformative Archives-Based Pedagogy, deadline March 18, 2019.

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