[Air-L] Fwd: [cultstud-l] CFP Reminder: The Archive and Everyday Life

jeremy hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Wed Oct 7 07:20:22 PDT 2009

Begin forwarded message:

> From: jennifer pybus <jrpybus at gmail.com>
> Date: October 6, 2009 9:22:45 PM CDT
> To: Cultural Studies <cultstud-l at lists.comm.umn.edu>
> Subject: [cultstud-l] CFP Reminder: The Archive and Everyday Life
> Reply-To: Cultural Studies <cultstud-l at lists.comm.umn.edu>
> Proposals due 15 October 2009 to tayconf at mcmaster.ca
> Call for Proposals:
> “The Archive and Everyday Life” Conference
> May 7-8, 2010
> McMaster University
> Confirmed Keynotes: Ann Cvetkovich (An Archive of Feelings: Trauma,
> Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures), Angela Grauerholz (At Work  
> and
> Play: A Web Experimentation), Ben Highmore (The Everyday Life Reader;
> Everyday Life and Cultural Theory), Michael O’Driscoll (The Event of  
> the
> Archive)
> This conference will bring together academics, advocates, artists,  
> and other
> cultural workers to examine the intersecting fields of archive and  
> everyday
> life theory. From Simmel through Mass Observation to contemporary  
> Cultural
> Studies theorists, the objective of everyday life theory has been,  
> as Ben
> Highmore writes, to “rescue the everyday from conventional habits of  
> the
> mind…to attempt to register the everyday in all its complexities and
> contradictions.” Archive theory provides a means to explore these  
> structures
> by “making the unfamiliar familiar,” hence opening the possibility of
> generating “new forms of critical practice.” The question of a  
> politics of
> the archive is critical to the burgeoning field of archive theory.  
> How do we
> begin to theorize the archive as a political apparatus? Can its  
> effective
> democratization be measured by the participation of those who engage  
> with
> both its constitution and its interpretation?
> “Archive” is understood to cover a range of objects, from a museum’s
> collection to a personal photograph album, from a repository of a  
> writer’s
> papers in a library to an artist’s installation of found objects.  
> Regardless
> of its content, the archive works to contain, organize, represent,  
> render
> intelligible, and produce narratives. The archive has often worked to
> legitimate the rule of those in power and to produce a historical  
> narrative
> that presents class structure and power relations as both common- 
> sense and
> inevitable. This function of the archive as a machine that produces
> History—telling us what is significant, valued, and worth  
> preserving, and
> what isn’t—is enabled through an understanding of the archive as  
> neutral and
> objective (and too banal and boring to be political!). The archive  
> has long
> occupied a privileged space in affirmative culture, and as a result,  
> the
> archive has been revered from afar and aestheticized, but not  
> understood as
> a potential object of critical practice.
> Can a dialogue between archive theory and everyday life theory work  
> to “take
> revenge” on the archive (Cvetkovich)? If the archive works to produce
> historical narratives, can we seize the archive and its attendant  
> collective
> consciousness as a tool for resistance in countering dominant  
> History with
> resistant narratives? While the archive has worked to preserve a
> transcendental, “affirmative” form of culture, bringing everyday  
> life theory
> into conversation with archive theory opens up the possibility of  
> directing
> critical attention to both the wonders and drudgeries of the everyday.
> Archiving the everyday—revealing class structures and oppression on  
> the
> basis of race and gender, rendering working and living conditions  
> under
> global capitalism visible, audible, and intelligible—redirects us  
> from our
> busyness and distractedness, and focuses our attention on that which  
> has not
> been understood to be deserving of archiving. The archive provides  
> the time
> and space to think through a collection of objects organized around
> particular set of interests. If the archive could grant us a space  
> in which
> to examine everyday life, rather than sweeping it under the carpet  
> as a
> trivial banality, we could begin to understand our conditions and  
> develop
> the desire to change them.
> How can we envision the archive as a site of ethics and/or politics?  
> Does
> the archive simply represent a place to amass memory, or can it,  
> following
> Benjamin, represent a site to make visible a history of the present,  
> thus
> amassing fragments of the everyday, which can in turn be used to  
> uproot the
> authority of the past to question the present? In short, what  
> happens when
> we move beyond the archive as merely a collection and begin to  
> theorize it
> as a site of constant renewal and struggle within which the past and  
> present
> can come together? Furthermore, how then does the archive as an  
> everyday
> practice allow us to understand or change our perception of  
> temporality,
> memory, and this historical moment?
> Areas of inquiry for submissions may include, but are not limited  
> to, the
> following topics and questions:
> • The archive both includes and excludes; it works to preserve while
> simultaneously doing violence. Are the acts of selection, collection,
> ordering, systematizing, and cataloguing inherently violent?
> • The question of digitization: the internet as digital archive and  
> the
> digitization of the physical archive. Digitizing the archive renders
> collections invisible and distant, yet increasingly searchable and
> quantifiable. Does the digitization of the archive reveal new ways  
> of seeing
> persistent power structures? Or does it hide them?
> • National and colonial archiving: questions of power and national  
> identity.
> • The utopian, radical potential of the archive as well as its  
> dystopian
> possibilities.
> • Indigenous modes of archiving.
> • Visibility and pedagogy: while the archive often works to hide,  
> conceal,
> and store away, it can also reveal and display that which otherwise  
> remains
> invisible. Do barriers to access restrict this emancipatory function  
> of the
> archive?
> • Questions of collective memory and nostalgia (for Benjamin, a  
> retreat to a
> place of comfort through nostalgia is not a political act).
> • The archive as revisionist history.
> • The archive as a form of surveillance.
> • The role of reflexivity with respect to the manner in which the  
> archive is
> constructed/produced/curated.
> • Function of the narrative form for the archive: how does the way  
> in which
> the archive reveals its own constructedness unravel the concept of the
> archive as “historical truth”?
> • The future of the archive: preservation and collection look  
> forwards as
> well as into the past. How should we understand the hermeneutic  
> function of
> the archive and the struggle over its interpretation?
> • The relationship between the archive and the archivist/archon.
> • Mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the archive: who speaks  
> and who
> is spoken for?
> • The affective relationship between the archive and the body.
> Following the conference, we intend to publish an edited collection of
> essays based on the papers presented at the conference to facilitate  
> the
> circulation of ideas in this exciting field of inquiry.
> “The Archive and Everyday Life” Conference will take place 7-8 May,  
> 2010,
> sponsored by the Department of English and Cultural Studies at  
> McMaster
> University in Hamilton, Ontario (John Douglas Taylor Fund). The  
> conference
> format will be diverse, including paper presentations, panels, round- 
> table
> exchanges, artistic performances, and exhibitions. We encourage  
> individual
> and collaborative paper and panel proposals from across the  
> disciplines and
> from artists and community members.
> Paper Submissions should include (1) contact information; (2) a  
> 300-500 word
> abstract; and (3) a one page curriculum vitae or a brief bio.
> Panel Proposals should include (1) a cover sheet with contact  
> information
> for chair and each panelist; (2) a one-page rationale explaining the
> relevance of the panel to the theme of the conference; (3) a 300 word
> abstract for each proposed paper; and (4) a one page curriculum  
> vitae for
> each presenter.
> Please submit individual paper proposals or full panel proposals via  
> e-mail
> attachment by October 15, 2009 to tayconf at mcmaster.ca with the  
> subject line
> “Archive.” Attachments should be in .doc or .rtf formats.  
> Submissions should
> be one document (i.e. include all required information in one attached
> document).
> Conference organizing committee:
> Mary O’Connor, Jennifer Pybus, and Sarah Blacker
> http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~english/taylor_10/index.html<http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/%7Eenglish/taylor_10/index.html 
> >
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