Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


Throughout my time at Macalester, I have become increasingly aware of a tension that exists between those housing the archive and what the archive seeks to document. Many of the archives that document the lives of those who have been victims of structural violence and those forcibly pushed to the outskirts of society, are housed within large institutions. Oftentimes these large institutions rest upon the very colonial and white supremacist harm they work to document. In this paper, I acknowledge this tension and ask what it looks like to move beyond housing identity-based history at an institution and in the hands of the perpetrators, and instead what it looks like to place these histories back into the communities they emerge from. Drawing upon the Lesbian Herstory Archive, Queer Newark Oral History Project, and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre Community Archive as case studies for community archival work, this paper will examine radical archiving as a theoretical framework geared towards equity and justice in archival spaces. Using case study review as a methodology, I will draw conclusions as to what community-based archiving looks like as a practice. Together these case studies will illustrate what community archiving looks like in practice and how radical archiving, as a framework, provides the tools necessary to engage in community-based archiving.

Author Biography

G. Bender (they/them), originally from Pasadena, California, is a senior at Macalester College, expecting to graduate in May 2023. Majoring in American Studies and minoring in Educational Studies, their areas of academic interest include, archival work, liberatory education, and prison and police abolition, among many others. After graduation they hope to enter a field where they can further explore their areas of academic interest!

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License