Archival Violence and Early Modern Research: Building Inclusive Practice, Shakespeare Association of America 50th Annual Meeting

April 9, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida

Discussant: Alexa Alice Joubin

Critical race, feminist and queer scholars have long been working to lay bare the violence embedded in the field of early modern studies. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the acute rupture in the summer of the long-festering chronic health crisis of racial violence against Black Americans and systemic xenophobia confronting immigrants in both North America and Britain, this work has become increasingly urgent. Early modern archival studies is overdue an examination of the methodologies underlying collections, preservation, and use. Decisions about what documents, voices, and experiences are deemed worthy of collection, preservation, and dissemination (through curatorial exhibition, a place on the library shelves, or digital cataloguing) determine what (hi)stories we tell in future.

    This seminar invites participants to explore challenges facing the early modern archive, and the work that we create from it, as we work to rebuild a more inclusive field. What are the challenges we face organising research mediating the past and present? What vocabularies does curatorial and historiographical practice need to acknowledge past violences while pointing the way to a more inclusive future, incorporating the methodologies of queer, gender, race, and trans studies? While the object of the early modern archive will be our central to discussion, we encourage approaches that think about the points of contact between the archive and performance practices like PAR, performance history, historiography, and early modern bibliography and textual studies, as well as papers reflecting on curatorial practice (including issues connected to digital collections, digitisation, and open access) and reflections on working with live performance and theatre archives.



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