Tending to Archives:
The question of curating, (at)tending to, and constructing an archive also asks how knowledge is (co)created, valued, and arranged. Popova (2015) reminds that “[w]e tend to treat our knowledge as personal property to be protected and defended. It is an ornament that allows us to rise in the pecking order.” This makes knowledge political and material in how an archive is produced. Clary-Lemon (2014) offers materialist archival processes; to define material, she writes, “By material, I mean the connection to the “real” (Blair 16), or as Barbara Dickson has it, “the signification of material things and corporeal entities” like bodies, texts, substance, and site” (382). By discussing materiality in terms of archival methods, she argues, one can examine how meaning is accrued through the curation of objects. One of the key critiques of how archival research has been talked about is the relationship to meaning and objects when she writes, “The separation of objects from ideas by the notion that ‘objects mediate knowledge’ has a long history in Western thought, and as researchers we often do not disrupt this assumption, looking instead to explicitly mine that mediation in our archival glimpses” (384).
In tending to this repository, I’ve continually grappled with how we could invent new ways of creating, being, and becoming in the design and continuation of this webspace. After all, Derrida (1998) writes that the “structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future. The archivization produces as much as it records the event” (17). Derrida writes later that the archive “produces more archive, and that is why the archive is never closed. It opens out of the future” (68). My intent is to make this an archive of play; one that encounters pasts and imagines futures. A teleological golden snitch that opens at the close, an inhabiting of khôra. A blogged archive that gives place a prior and conjecture (Derrida, 1995). A willful archive in which the parts may not producing the whole, where parts can be followed, traced, invent new trajectories, and create excesses of archival experiences (Ahmed, 2014).
Having wrapped up my first year of grad school at Eastern Michigan, this blog has become a sustained habit for me—one that serves as a repository for notes, making public my explorations and reflections, as well as one that sustains my inquiry. It makes followable and returnable, it makes interactive and exploratory, it produces and mediates texts and contexts for writing, reading, thinking, and knowing. I hope to continue this habit critically and conscientiously, becoming aware of the texts that are included and the futures it imagines as well as those that are not included. I hope this is a repository that invents, sustains, “and makes an attempt not to treat his knowledge as a treasure, or even a possession, or even a self-esteem enhancement device —” (Popova, 2015).
Ahmed, Sara (2014). Willful Subjects. Durham: Duke University Press.
Clery-Lemon, Jennifer (2014). “Archival Research Processes: A Case for Material Methods,” Rhetoric Review 33.4, 381-402.
Derrida, Jacques (1998). Archive Fever. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Derrida, Jacques (1995). On the Name. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
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Book Chapters and Edited Collections:
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Morris, Charles E., III, and K. J. Rawson. “Queer Archives/Archival Queers.”Theorizing Histories of Rhetoric. Ed. Michelle Ballif. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2013. 74-89.
Neary, Mike and Joss Winn. “Student as Producer: Reinventing the Student Experience in Higher Education.” The Future of Higher Education: Policy, Pedagogy and the Student Experience. London: Continuum, 2009.
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