Post-Custodial Archiving for the Collective Good: Examining Neoliberalism in US-Latin American Archival Partnerships

Abstract

LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at the University of Texas at Austin applies post-custodial archival methods in pursuit of a new vision of digital archival practice and the transnational construction of historical memory. This work seeks to develop a practice for digital archiving that enables the redistribution of resources while centering communities as contributors and owners of their own documentary heritage. Although LLILAS Benson has successfully built partnerships and continues to manage widely recognized collections using a post-custodial model, the anti-colonial framework through which this work has been understood does not fully account for the power imbalances at play. Using Cifor and Lee’s survey of neoliberalism in the archives as a launching point, this article considers how neoliberalism has shaped post-custodial practices at LLILAS Benson, focusing on ideas and practices of labor, digitization, and the common good. Through this analysis, the authors describe not a static set of methodologies, but rather an ongoing process of learning, unlearning, and restructuring in pursuit of a collective good.

Preprint first published online 03/03/2018

Author Biographies

Hannah Alpert-Abrams, Brown University

Hannah Alpert-Abrams is a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University. From 2017-2018, she was a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation and Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her PhD at UT Austin in 2017.

David A Bliss, University of Texas at Austin

David Bliss is a digital processing archivist at LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. David earned an MSIS from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017, and an MA in Latin American and Early Modern European History from the University of New Mexico in 2013.

Itza Carbajal, University of Texas at Austin

Itza Carbajal is a metadata librarian at LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. Itza earned an MSIS at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017.

Published
2019-03-03