New Work

In the New Works series of readings, activists and scholars working in the archival space share their work in progress, recently published or forthcoming work, followed by discussion.

Upcoming Readings

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
11am ET, via Zoom

Dr. Victoria Lemieux, Associate Professor of Archival Science in the School of Information at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Lemieux will read excerpts from her forthcoming monograph, Searching for Trust: Blockchain technology in an age of disinformation.

Searching for Trust explores the intersectionality of trust, disinformation and blockchain technology in an age of growing institutional and epistemic mistrust. It asks questions such as what is trust? What is truth? And, what do trust and truth have to do with a cryptocurrency that many associate with hackers and criminality.

Building upon the authors’ previous work exploring blockchains and other types of distributed ledgers through an archival theoretic lens. this book argues for an archival understanding of the formation of societal trusting relations. It further explores how the rise of computational information processing has gradually supplanted traditional record keeping, putting at risk a centuries old tradition of the “moral defence of the record” and supplanting it with a dominant ethos of information processing efficiency. Lemieux argues that this focus on information processing efficiency over the defence of records against manipulation and corruption (the ancient task of the record keeper) has contributed to a diminution of the trustworthiness of information and a rise of disinformation, with attendant destabilization of the epistemic trust fabric of societies. Lemieux asks readers to consider the potential and limitations of blockchains, as the technological embodiment of the moral defence of the record, to restore societal trust in an age of disinformation.

Lemieux is the founder and co-lead of Blockchain@UBC, a multidisciplinary research and education cluster focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology, a Sauder School of Business Distinguished Scholar, and an Affiliate of the Institute of Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems at the University of British Columbia. She is also an award winning researcher, author, and records, archival and cybersecurity professional. 
The reading will be followed by a discussion moderated by Annie Tummino, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College CUNY.

Register in advance for this meeting:

Previous Events in This Series

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
11am Eastern Time via Zoom

Verne Harris, adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela University, will read from his recently published monograph Ghosts of Archive: Deconstructive Intersectionality and Praxis

Ghosts of Archive draws on the discourses of deconstruction, intersectionality and archetypal psychology to mount an argument that archive is fundamentally and structurally spectral and that the work of archive is justice.

Drawing on more than 20 years of the author’s research on deconstruction and archive, the book posits archive as an essential resource for social justice activism and as a source, or location, of soul for individuals and communities. Through explorations of what Jacques Derrida termed ‘hauntology’, Harris invites a listening to the call for justice in conceptual spaces that are non-disciplinary. He argues that archive is both constructed in relation to and beset by ghosts – ghosts of the living, of the dead and of those not yet born – and that attention should be paid to them. Establishing a unique nexus between a deconstructive intersectionality and traditions of ‘memory for justice’ in struggles against oppression from South Africa and elsewhere, the book makes a case for a deconstructive praxis in today’s archive.

Verne Harris is an adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela University. He served in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was Nelson Mandela’s archivist between 2004 and 2013.

The reading will be followed by a discussion moderated by Obden Mondesir, Outreach Archivist and Adjunct Lecturer at Queens College, CUNY and Oral Historian at the Weeksville Heritage Center. 

Thursday November 19, 2020

4:00pm EST, via Zoom

Dr. Jamie A. Lee, Assistant Professor of Digital Culture, Information, and Society in the School of Information at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Lee will read from their forthcoming monograph, Producing the Archival Body.

Producing the Archival Body draws on theoretical and practical research conducted within US and Canadian archives, along with critical and cultural theory, to examine the everyday lived experiences of archivists and records creators that are often overlooked during archival and media production.

Expanding on the author’s previous work, which engaged archival and queer theories to develop the Queer/ed Archival Methodology that intervenes in traditional archival practices, the book invites readers interested in humanistic inquiry to re-consider how archives are defined, understood, deployed, and accessed to produce subjects. Arguing that archives and bodies are mutually constitutive and developing a keen focus on the body and embodiment alongside archival theory, the author introduces new understandings of archival bodies. Contributing to recent disciplinary moves that offer a more transdisciplinary emphasis, Lee interrogates how power circulates and is deployed in archival contexts in order to build critical understandings of how deeply archives influence and shape the production of knowledges and human subjectivities.

Lee directs the Arizona Queer Archives, the Digital Storytelling & Oral History Lab, and co-directs the Climate Alliance Mapping Project. They are an award-winning social justice documentary filmmaker, archivist, and scholar committed to decolonizing methodologies and asset-driven approaches to community participatory projects that are produced with communities in ways that will be relevant and beneficial.

The reading will be followed by a discussion moderated by Jeanie Pai.