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Call for Papers – Archiving Activism and Activist Archiving

Looking for an academically reputable forum in which to (potentially) publish your thoughts on the (at times disreputable) activity of “Archiving Activism and Activist Archiving?” Now’s your chance…to submit an article…

Archival Science – Call for Papers

Special Issue on ‘Archiving Activism and Activist Archiving’

Guest Editors:
Ben Alexander, Queens College, City University of New York Andrew Flinn, University College London, University of London

Although archiving the records of political activism, particularly grassroots activism, is not a new practice, it has often been a controversial and contested process resulting in informal and autonomous activist archival endeavours as well as collections in more orthodox higher education and other local and national specialist archival repositories. In recent years the collection, preservation and the promotion of the use of activist collections for historical research and for ‘social justice’ or ‘human rights’ struggles has become increasingly prevalent in the formal archival sector as well as amongst the growing numbers of independent and autonomous archival endeavours. This explicit alignment with political activism and social justice objectives is not without its critics within the recordkeeping profession, but the archiving of activism and an activist archival approach goes beyond notions of the ‘active archivist’ and instead embraces an understanding of archival practice as (by its very nature) a form of social, cultural, and political activism. Although not necessarily synonymous, these developments come at a time when notions of a more active, collaborative and participatory archival practice are gaining currency in the professional archival world, sharing perhaps an understanding of the power of the democratisation of the production and creation of knowledge.

Accordingly, this special issue of Archival Science “Archiving Activism and Activist Archiving” will explore the varied connections between contemporary archival practice and activism in many different contexts (national, political, socio-economic, technological, autonomous and formal).
This special issue will be guest edited by Ben Alexander, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College, The City University of New York benjamin.alexander[at] and Andrew Flinn, Department of Information Studies, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University College London, a.flinn[at] Questions about the special issue can be direct to Drs. Alexander and Flinn.

Suggested topics for papers may include:

  • how do mainstream archives and archivists work to preserve activist struggles of the past (such as the civil rights movement in the American South, struggles for equality and against discrimination, radical political movements of the left and right as well as across divided and antagonistic communities);
  • how the constitution of archives and the active ‘use’ of the past history is considered by archival activists to be a core component of their political activities;
  • how global moves to ensure preservation and use of the documentation of social and political atrocities (including genocide, human rights abuses and repressive regimes) in Truth and Reconciliation, criminal tribunals and other social justice processes has increasingly involved archivists as key active participants in on-going struggles for Human Rights and Justice.
  • the impact of technology in promoting the collection, sharing and use of activist histories and for promoting a sense of a more collaborative and participatory approach to the production of ‘useful’ knowledge
  • the implications of a social justice or human rights orientation to archival practice for the traditional professional adherence to political neutrality

Key Dates
Submission Deadline for completed papers: May 16, 2014
Submission instructions
Papers submitted to this special issue for possible publication must be original and must not be under consideration for publication in any other journal or conference. Previously published or accepted conference/workshop papers must contain at least 30% new material to be considered for the special issue (for workshops 50% new content is required). Submissions should be made online via the Editorial Manager System at
During submission please select article type “SI: Archiving Activism”.
All manuscripts must be prepared according to the journal publication guidelines which can also be found on the website Papers will be reviewed following the journal standard peer review process (double-blind).

About Z.M.L

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer @libshipwreck

One comment on “Call for Papers – Archiving Activism and Activist Archiving

  1. Jaime
    February 10, 2014

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2014 by in Activism, Archives, Education, Librarianship, Libraries and tagged .

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