Globalizing Palestine



International conference, March 24-25, 2014

Call for papers: Palestinian archive project

Birzeit University’s Digital Archive in an International Perspective –

Towards a Chaotic Order

The Birzeit University Palestinian Archive was conceived some years ago, and resulted in the creation and rapid development of a generalist, open, online archive of the Palestinian people, which stores and presents textual and audio-visual documents coming from all sectors of the society, official and unofficial, from late Ottoman times to the present (with the legally-based exception of materials produced by the Palestinian Authority). It is located in the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies, and benefits from its multidisciplinary expertise. In constructing this documentary base (www.awraq.birzeit.edu>) a critical perspective has been adopted, in line with the contemporary critique of official archives as authoritative and tendentious sites entrenching the status quo. Research organizations, for their part, tend to select and organize documents in ways that sharpen the weaponry of class and political control, if only through their adoption of imperially consecrated methodologies of order. Instead, Birzeit's archive accepts all types of contributions, without subjecting them to criteria based on sovereignty, strategy or elitism. It is thus a counter-archive, in the dual sense of difference from and rejection of the archival norm, whether colonial, traditional or academic. Indeed, it has thus far eschewed order as such, and invited its practitioners to derive theirs from their own imagination harnessed to that of the easily-navigated 10 000-strong collection.
The planned two-day conference will be devoted to questioning the evolving nature of archiving. Discussions will focus on evolving treatment of sources from the point of view of their credibility, their significance and their potential. Out of the chaos produced by clashing visions of the archival field, a measure of order, beyond that of the standard search, may well be lurking in the archival field. Not the state-based order intrinsic to national archives, nor that of consecrated institutions, but a hidden order of things and peoples, waiting to be freed from the growing organism in which it is enclosed.
Contributions will focus, first of all, on matters of a conceptual nature: whither the archive? Whither the primary source? Secondly, questions will be asked regarding the types of meanings found through the reverse reading of particular archives regionally and worldwide as case studies, be they familial, religious, cultural, national, corporate or professional. In the third part, participants will elaborate ways in which something as polymorphous as Birzeit's Palestinian archive and other ones throughout the world can be transformed based on the principle that constraints, when not oriented by power, may after all be projected as emancipatory rather than repressive human instruments.
We have already secured the participation of specialists from the global and the Palestinian academies, and wish to elicit further contributions.
To this end, interested persons are invited to present proposals for papers dealing with the first, second or third type of contribution. 500-word abstracts should be submitted by November 20th, 2013. In case of acceptance, the full paper should be turned in by February 20th, 2014. Please send correspondence, including abstracts and requests for clarification, to
awraq@birzeit.edu>.

 

http://www.birzeit.edu/news/call-papers-birzeit-university%E2%80%99s-digital-archive-international-perspective



 
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