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Archives, care, and geography: archival research as care praxis

16:30, Thursday 11 May 2023 EDT (30 minutes)

Archival research has been long recognized as a key method in geography, and at the same time, geographical literature on care is growing rapidly. However, these literatures have remained largely distinct from each other within the discipline, even though geographers have often implemented care into their archival research and practice, and even as archival research holds growing appeal for scholars examining historical influences on contemporary places. In this paper, I bring archives and care into further conversation. Drawing on existing geographical literature on care and on archival methods, work in archival studies, and my own research and ethnographic experiences in archives, I argue that the socio-material practices of geographers in the archives help generate spaces of care, where ethical caring practices exist, and caring relationships can flourish. I demonstrate how archival work in geography and beyond includes relationships of care between humans and non-humans – between archivists, researchers, and archival records/objects. I share some examples and strategies that geographers and other researchers can—and do—follow in building, maintaining, and repairing archival relationships, even in uncertain and precarious times.

University of British Columbia
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