Event Details

Friday, October 27
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor Theatre

“Radical Recordkeeping: How Decolonizing Archives Helps us Think Differently About Them”

Jeannette Bastian (PhD ’99)

Professor & Director, Archives Management Concentration; Director, Simmons School of Library and Information Science

Abstract: ‘Decolonizing the archives’ has become a popular metaphor for re-assessing and even abandoning traditional archival theory and practice in favor of viewing records from the perspective of communities that have been archivally marginalized.  The term ‘decolonization’ refers generally both to the removal of domination by colonial forces within the geographical spaces and institutions of the colonized, as well as to a ‘decolonizing of the mind’ from the colonizers’ ideas. For archives professionals in both settler nations with indigenous or alienated communities and those postcolonial nations and peoples casting off the legacies of oppression, recognizing and legitimating the diversity of records and cultural expressions has become a major concern in the 21st century. Confronting the archival challenges presented by decolonization demands a mindset that is willing to directly interact with those challenges unmediated by the strictures and formalities of pre-set concepts.

This presentation considers these challenges while tracing the post-colonial/decolonial trajectory and suggesting that seeing archives from the margins and bringing the margins to the middle offers fresh and inclusive paths towards a holistic archival universe.

Bio: Jeannette A. Bastian is Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Director of the Archives Management concentration. She has taught at Simmons since 1999. Formerly Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands from 1987 to 1998, she received her MLS from Shippensburg University, an M.Phil in Caribbean Literature from the University of the West Indies (Mona) and a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include archival education, memory, community archives, and postcolonialism.

She is widely published in the archival literature and her books include West Indian Literature, An Index to Criticism, 1930-1975 (1981) Owning Memory, How a Caribbean Community Lost Its Archives and Found Its History (2003), Archival Internships (2008), and Community Archives, The Shaping of Memory (2009).