CfP: Identity Palimpsests: Ethnic Archiving in the U.S. and Canada

Call for Papers: Identity Palimpsests: Ethnic Archiving in the U.S. and Canada

Forthcoming volume in the series Archives, Archivists, and Society.

Series editor: Richard J. Cox. Publisher: Litwin Books, LLC, Los Angeles, CA Volume editors: Dr. Dominique Daniel, Assistant Professor, Humanities Librarian for History and Modern Languages, Kresge Library, Oakland University (daniel [at] and Amalia S. Levi, Ph.D. student (2014), iSchool, University of Maryland (amaliasl [at]

Deadline for submission of abstracts: August 30, 2012

Format: Contributions should be approximately 7,000 words (for theoretical contributions), and approximately 3,500 words (for practical contributions), prepared in Word, and should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, notes and bibliography documentation system.


Litwin Books invites original papers for a new volume in its Archives, Archivists, and Society series. The book?s main objective is to assess the ways ethnic identities and other forms of belonging are affected by, and also affect, current practices in ethnic archiving. The book will both provide a historical overview of the ways ethnic organizations and communities have collected, preserved and provided access to their heritage; and examine contemporary practices and theories in the context of a cultural heritage sector that is today defined by the digital medium and the Web. For the purpose of this book institutions involved in ethnic archiving may include libraries, archives, historical societies and museums that document the history of immigration and ethnicity in the United States and Canada. The book will contain both theoretical and practical contributions by practitioners in the field and scholars in history and archival science.

Archives shape the way we understand the past and we see the future. This has repercussions for the construction, writing, and representation of minority and diaspora histories in the North American context. Considering the variety and diversity of ethnic populations in North America, these repercussions reach beyond the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans as well. In an age of citizen-archivists, and citizen-historians, the changing ways we understand authority in archival settings signal a paradigm shift. Archivists and historians are called to reexamine and redefine their roles and professions in this process, while ethnic minorities have explored new, culturally specific and technology-rich ways to preserve, promote and display their heritage.

Archival science has long challenged the image of the archivist as a neutral guardian of the historical record and recognized her role as an active shaper of archives, but historians have yet to discuss implications for historical research. We invite contributions that bring new theoretical insight into the impact of the “archival turn” on ethnic archiving, that suggest ways historical research may be affected, and that begin to outline implications for the archivists? practice. Contributions that explore the impact that archivists have on the very ethnic identities they are trying to preserve are particularly welcome.

Theoretical contributions

At the theoretical level, the contributions can adopt a contemporary or historical perspective. Topics can include, but are not limited to:

– the impact of ethnic studies and evolving theories of ethnicity on archiving practices
– new developments in archival theory that have or could have implications for ethnic
– the effects of ethnic archiving on historical research, and ? the emergence of memory and postcolonial studies as lenses for understanding identity formation, and diversity in a post-9/11 world.

Practical contributions

For practical contributions, essays that do not only focus on particular institutions, but also provide comparative studies among cultural heritage institutions will be preferred. Practical contributions could deal with heritage institutions run by minorities themselves, and also others run through mainstream or official channels (government, academic, etc.). Topics include, but are not limited to:

– what is „ethnic archiving? today and who should be entrusted with the curation of ethnic collections in heritage institutions
– the purposes of archiving for ethnic minorities
– methods of ethnic archiving, and
– web and digital technologies that have been used in innovative ways for ethnic archiving.


Please send 500-word abstracts and a brief CV with relevant publications by August 30. Notification of acceptance will be sent by September 30, 2012. Accepted authors should submit articles for review by January 30, 2013. Deadline for submission of final articles with revisions is March 30, 2013.

For more information or questions, please contact Dominique Daniel (daniel [at] or Amalia S. Levi (amaliasl [at]