This joint online collaborative interdisciplinary research seminar focuses on novel ways of thinking about “the archive.” Dealing with the issues of archives, memory, and human rights, the course’s main question concerns the reasons why some knowledge about the past is preserved and other knowledge is not. The course is organized so as to give the students a “hands-on” experience with working with the archive by introducing them to particular examples of archives, such as the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. The course also includes the examples of archives that feature different types of archival material, including the records of human rights organizations and human rights activists, artistic works, records of political tribunal testimonies, and colonial archives.
The Visual History Archive is discussed in relation to the issue of politics of digital history archives. The students are required to learn about the use of the VHA both through the assigned reading and a hands-on experience with the Archive. Central questions concerning the VHA are the following: Whose stories will be recorded and how? What is the politics of indexing? What makes an archive digital? How silencing and “un-silencing” of memory happens in an interview context?