A collection of accessible, interdisciplinary essays that explore archival practices to unsettle traditional archival theories and methodologies.
What would it mean to unsettle the archives? How can we better see the wounded and wounding places and histories that produce absence and silence in the name of progress and knowledge? Unsettling Archival Research sets out to answer these urgent questions and more, with essays that chart a more just path for archival work.
Unsettling Archival Research is one of the first publications in rhetoric and writing studies dedicated to scholarship that unsettles disciplinary knowledge of archival research by drawing on decolonial, Indigenous, antiracist, queer, and community perspectives. Written by established and emerging scholars, essays critique not only the practices, ideologies, and conventions of archiving, but also offer new tactics for engaging critical, communal, and digital archiving within and against systems of power. Contributors reflect on efforts to unsettle and counteract racist, colonial histories, confront the potentials and pitfalls of common archival methodologies, and chart a path for the future of archival research otherwise. Unsettling Archival Research intervenes in a critical issue: whether the discipline’s assumptions about the archives serve or fail the communities they aim to represent and what can be done to center missing voices and perspectives. The aim is to explore the ethos and praxis of bearing witness in unsettling ways, carried out as a project of queering and/or decolonizing the archives.
Unsettling Archival Research takes seriously the rhetorical force of place and wrestles honestly with histories that still haunt our nation, including the legacies of slavery, colonial violence, and systemic racism.