Short Papers Panel: Transgressing the Norm: Community Archives, Activism and Human Rights
Sponsored by: California Rare Book School
Moderators: Jocelyn Karlan, Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
Archives, Action, AIDS: Archival Collaborations with Visual AIDS
This paper examines a series of archival collaborations between activists, artists, and archivists with Visual AIDS, a community-based arts organization committed to raising AIDS awareness by producing and presenting visual art projects, exhibitions, assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS, and preserving artists’ legacies, at their center. I argue that records of AIDS activism from the 1980s and 1990s form an important yet underexplored arena in which study archival collaboration and coalition, as well the use and reuse of records in contemporary activism, exhibitions, and visual art. These collaborations speak significantly to how archives construct, reflect, and contest cultural memory, political goals, lived and felt experiences, and bear witness to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Speaker: Marika Cifor, Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Archives Power to the People: Documenting Police Violence in Cleveland
This presentation will trace the origins of A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland and situate the archive within the context of contemporary U.S. freedom movements opposing state violence. The creation of this archive serves as a potential path for the continued growth of post-institutional, community-based archives in the United States. The establishment and sustainability of these “people’s archives” are essential not only for the diversity of the historical record but also for promoting accountability in a democratic society through empowerment of marginalized communities. By detailing first-hand experience with the establishment of a people’s archive, this presentation contributes to ongoing dialogue on questions of archival activism, social justice, and human rights.
Speaker: Melissa Hubbard, Case Western Reserve
Diasporic Interventions: Human Rights, Civil War and the Archives of El Rescate
This paper focuses on the human rights archives of El Rescate, a community based organization in Los Angeles. Founded by refugees from the Salvadoran civil war in 1981, El Rescate and its Human Rights Department were instrumental in compiling the “Index of Accountability,” a source document on human rights violations committed during the conflict that was key to the work of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador. Besides providing background on El Rescate and its efforts to preserve and make available its materials, this paper will also discuss the organization’s role in maintaining the memory of the conflict and the importance of its collection in light of diminished access to parallel resources in El Salvador.
Speaker: Mario H. Ramirez, Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles