Decolonizing the Digital Archive

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
25th AISNA Biennial Conference Gate(d)Ways. Enclosures, Breaches and Mobilities Across U.S. Boundaries and Beyond (Ragusa, Italy, September 26-28, 2019)
contact email: 

Decolonizing the Digital Archive


In recent years we have witnessed a proliferation of digital archival work – often (but not always) in the form of open access platforms developed to gather, preserve, and share historical documents. The very nature of open accessibility counters a rhetoric of retreat and the construction of barriers among knowledge producers and consumers – by refusing ownership over its content and seeking collaborative and communal engagement in both interpretational and curatorial work, open access digital archives are often decentralized archives that  provide modes for democratic access, exchange, and co-construction of knowledge.


As digital archives are beginning to define the work that we do, an interdisciplinary effort, spearheaded by digital humanists, has increasingly focused on theorizing the affordances offered by the digital form and the power structures and silences of the archive in colonial and capitalist knowledge regimes. Projects such as the Early Caribbean Digital Archive (ECDA), Colored Conventions, and Chicana Por Mi Raza have proposed different tactics – such as remixing, reassembling, and decentralizing – to decolonize the archive and violate the epistemic boundaries and the structure knowledge that it seeks to enforce.


In this panel, we hope to explore questions at the intersections of theory and praxis, as we consider how digital tools can be theorized, hacked, and used in service of decolonizing the archive. This panel seeks to explore not only digital archives as repositories of historical document, but also their capacity to collect real-time produced knowledge. We also invite contributions that look at pedagogical practices based on digital archival work,, digital platforms that speak to multiple constituencies and online projects that serve as Open Educational Resources.

Please send a 300 word proposal and a short bio by June 15 to:

Sonia Di Loreto  (Università di Torino)

Stefano Morelli (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)