Archives Without Archives: (Re)Locating and (Re)Defining the Archive Through Post-Custodial Praxis
Keywords:Human Rights archives, Critical Archives Studies
The post-custodial paradigm of archives re-positions archivists from institutional custodians of archival records to stewards of records in their places of creation or use. Through this dislocation from traditional practice, post-custodial praxis democratizes the power dynamic of archives by disaggregating the value of archival records from dependence on the archival repository and prioritizing the context of records creation over records content. The post-custodial paradigm disaggregates archives praxis from physical custody of records and (re)locates the work of the archivist to be neither only the institutional repository nor the site of records creation, but rather a third space that crosses borders between the two and can function in both but belongs wholly to neither. This article discusses how locations of power and agency can be (re)positioned by post-custodial archives theory and praxis within a case study of the University of Texas Libraries' Human Rights Documentation Initiative.
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