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The Shock of the Old: Archives After the Digital Turn

Maria Cotera

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There can be little doubt that the democratizing impetus of the digital revolution has transformed the practices and publics of our scholarly work, perhaps no more so than in the shifting terrain of archival recovery. Innovations in digital media from portable high quality scanners to smartphones that can produce precision digital recordings have made it easier for scholars to collect, organize and share primary sources from their research in formats that disrupt top-down models of knowledge production. Indeed, “renegade” archives are popping up all over, challenging the control of traditional institutions over the valuation, curation, and access to primary sources. In this presentation, I will discuss how a critical practice of digital scholarship can embrace this moment of disruption to re-imagine knowledge-making as a collaborative effort; one that produces knowledge not only for scholarly communities but also for (and with) a broader public that until now has only rarely come into contact with our scholarly work. How does such collaborative knowledge making demand a shift, both conceptual and practical, in the ecosystem of our scholarship, from the question of what kind of scholarly products we produce (books, articles, exhibitions, collections) to the question of how these products are received (Who are our audiences, where does our work land, whom does it serve?). What role might the university play in either supporting or ultimately re-incorporating the liberatory impulses of these disruptive digital practices?

Maria Cotera, U-M associate professor of American Culture and Women’s Studies, discusses how the critical practice of digital scholarship can re-imagine knowledge-making as a collaborative effort; one that produces knowledge not only for scholarly communities but also for (and with) a broader public that until now has only rarely come into contact with our scholarly work.

Maria Cotera is a scholar of feminist of color genealogies who holds a joint appointment in the Departments of American Culture and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She was the 2014-15 Helmut F. Stern Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities.
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When and Where

Map 202 S. Thayer - Institute for the Humanities Common Room

September 2017

12:30pm - 2:00pm

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