Cultural Humility as a Framework for Anti-Oppressive Archival Description
This essay argues for the necessity for mainstream archival institutions to audit for oppressive, euphemistic or misrepresentative language within their archival description, and will advocate for the redescription of collections to be undertaken through a framework of cultural humility. Prioritizing critical self-reflection, institutional accountability, and by recognizing and challenging power imbalances, archivists can facilitate the rectification of false historical narratives and oppressive language that continues to be created and remain in the collection description of mainstream archives. This article will examine what steps are necessary to describe and re-describe material through a lens of cultural humility, foregrounding the development of an ethical descriptive practice as an iterative and cyclical process rather than one that is linear with a finite date of achievement. The resulting recommendations will serve as a call for archivists and archival institutions to continually develop a descriptive practice that is transparent, critically self-reflective and community-centered.
Pre-print first published online 10/01/2020
Copyright (c) 2020 Jessica Tai
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
JCLIS is open access in publication, politics, and philosophy. In a world where paywalls are the norm for access to scholarly research, the Journal recognizes that removal of barriers to accessing information is key to the production and sharing of knowledge.
Authors retain intellectual property and copyright of manuscripts published in JCLIS, and JCLIS applies a Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial) license to published articles. If an article is republished after initial publication in JCLIS, the republished article should indicate that it was first published by JCLIS.