Deconstructing Whiteness in Archives

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This workshop session is geared towards archives professionals who want to critically and constructively examine how dynamics of whiteness affect their work. Organizers hope to provide a collaborative and engaging conversation that complements MARAC's ongoing efforts towards cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. Participants will have an opportunity to critically examine their own experiences around whiteness in archives and engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues. Following a brief introduction to key concepts and definitions, trained facilitators will lead small groups in a workshop exercise based on Roadside Theater's “Story Circle” methodology. All attendees will be expected to participate in a Story Circle. It will not be possible to accommodate late arrivals or observers. Participants will be asked to respect strict confidentiality within their small groups.

This proposal was inspired in part by dialogue around #ArchivesSoWhite and M. Ramirez’s 2015 article “Being Assumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative.” Reflecting a working definition developed by LIS scholars Bourg, Espinal, Galvan, Hall, Hathcock, and Honma, participants will be asked to engage the concept of “whiteness” as both “the socio-cultural differential of power and privilege that results from categories of race and ethnicity…[and] as a marker for the privilege and power that acts to reinforce itself through hegemonic cultural practice that excludes all who are different.” (Hathcock, White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS, 2015)



representation, white supremacy, white privilege, archival ethics, community relations, diversity, identity