Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation

Editor: Mary Kandiuk

Price: $35.00

Published: May 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63400-062-8

520 pages


Archives and special collections play a critical role in promoting social justice. This collection of essays interrogates library practices relating to archives and special collections. Funding and political choices often underpin acquisition, access and promotion of these collections, resulting in unequal representation, biased interpretations, and suppressed narratives. Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation explores the reinterpretation and resituating of archives and special collections held by libraries, examines the development and stewardship of archives and special collections within a social justice framework, and describes the use of critical practice by libraries and librarians to shape and negotiate the acquisition, cataloguing, promotion, and use of archives and special collections. Chapters in this volume discuss the development of new collections through community outreach to marginalized and underrepresented groups, efforts to amend the historical documentary record through digitization projects, cataloguing, authority and description of archives and special collections, using a critical practice framework, ethical and political issues relating to donors, appraisal and access, curation, stewardship and promotion of controversial or sensitive collections, and the decolonization of space and collections.

Mary Kandiuk is the Visual Arts, Design & Theatre Librarian and a Senior Librarian at York University in Toronto, Canada. She holds a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Library Science from the University of Toronto. She is the author of two bibliographies of secondary criticism relating to Canadian literature published by Scarecrow Press and co-author of Digital Image Collections and Services (ARL Spec Kit, 2013). She is co-editor of the collection In Solidarity: Academic Librarian Labour Activism and Union Participation in Canada, published by Library Juice Press in 2014. Her most recent publications include articles on the topic of academic freedom. For more information see:


Table of Contents

Introduction – Mary Kandiuk

Acknowledgements – Mary Kandiuk

1. Censorship or Stewardship? Strategies for Managing Biased Publications and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in Special Collections Libraries – Lara K. Aase

2. Prison Sentences: Recovering the Voices of Prisoners through Exhibition, Instruction, and Outreach – Kimberley Bell and Jillian Sparks

3. Getting Out of the Archive: Building Positive Community Partnerships and Strong Social Justice Collections – Elizabeth Call and Miranda Mims

4. Men, Masculinities, and the Archives: Introducing the Concept of Hegemonic Masculinity in Archival Discourse – François Dansereau

5. The Gentleman’s Ghost: Patriarchal Eurocentric Legacies in Special Collections Design – Jesse Ryan Erickson

6. Sensitive Materials in the Special Collection: Some Considerations – Daniel German

7. Healing through Inclusion: Preserving Community Perspectives on the Komagata Maru Incident – Melanie Hardbattle

8. Ethical Cataloging and Racism in Special Collections – Elizabeth Hobart

9. Invisible in Plain View: Libraries, Archives, Digitization, Memory, and the 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars – Heidi
L.M. Jacobs

10. Refocusing the Lens: Creating Social Justice Encounters for Students in the Archives – Peggy Keeran, Katherine Crowe, and Jennifer Bowers

11. White Folks in the Black Archive: Questions of Power, Ethics, and Race around a Digital Editing Project – Clayton McCarl

12. Breaking Barriers through Decolonial Community-Based Archival Practice – Krista McCracken and Skylee-Storm Hogan

13. “Certain Moral Reflections”: Digital Exhibits and Critical Scholarship—The Case of the Kipling Scrapbooks Digital Exhibit – Jessica Ruzek, Roger Gillis, and Diana Doublet

14. Controversy and Campus Legacies: A University Archives
Caught in the Crossfire – Anne S.K. Turkos and Jason G. Speck

15. Contesting Colonial Library Practices of Accessibility and Representation – Margarita Vargas-Betancourt, Jessica L. English, Melissa Jerome, and Angelibel Soto

16. The Importance of Collecting, Accessing, and Contextualizing Japanese-American Historical Materials: A California State University Collaborative – Gregory L. Williams and Maureen Burns

17. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (with Clarity, Context, and Patience): Ethical Considerations for Deeds of Gift and Transfer Agreements – Katrina Windon and Lori Birrell