This workshop session aims to facilitate a dialogue among conference attendees about the consequences and legacies of whiteness/white supremacy in archives. The session is geared towards white professionals who want to critically examine how dynamics of whiteness affect their work. Anyone interested in contributing constructively may participate. Organizers hope to provide a collaborative and engaging conversation that complements SAA’s ongoing efforts towards cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. Attendees should be familiar with SAA’s Initiative for Cultural Diversity Competence.
This session is designed to equip participants to critically examine their own experiences around whiteness in archives, engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues and patrons at their institution, and begin developing strategies to disrupt oppressive and exclusionary practices in their sphere of work. Using the “Story Circle” methodology (https://roadside.org/asset/story-circle-guidelines
) developed by Roadside Theater, trained facilitators will lead small groups in a participatory conversation. Following a brief introduction, all attendees will be expected to participate in a Story Circle. It will not be possible to accommodate late arrivals. Participants will be asked to respect strict confidentiality. The session will not be recorded or live-tweeted.
This proposal was inspired in part by dialogue around #ArchivesSoWhite (http://issuesandadvocacy.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/archivessowhite-intro-bibliography
) and M. Ramirez’s 2015 article “Being Assumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative” (http://dx.doi.org/10.17723.0360-9081.78.2.339
). Reflecting a working definition developed by LIS scholars Bourg, Espinal, Galvan, Hall, Hathcock, and Honma, participants will be asked to engage the concept of “whiteness” as both “the socio-cultural differential of power and privilege that results from categories of race and ethnicity…[and] as a marker for the privilege and power that acts to reinforce itself through hegemonic cultural practice that excludes all who are different.” (Hathcock, 2015