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Scholar and Feminist Conference: The Politics and Ethics of the Archive

February 8 @ 4:00 pm - February 9 @ 7:00 pm


Maira E. Álvarez, La Vaughn Belle, Elizabeth Castelli, Sebastián Castro Nicolescu, Yvette Christiansë, Maria Cotera, Jarrett Drake, Akwaeke Emezi, Sylvia Fernández Quintanilla, Che Gossett, Jennifer Guglielmo, Saidiya Hartman, Michelle Joffroy, Mariame Kaba, Steve Lang, Justin Leroy, Abram J. Lewis, Grace Lile, Marya Annette McQuirter, Laura McTighe, Melissa Morrone, Premilla Nadasen, Vani Natarajan, Miriam Neptune, Chinelo Okparanta, Shannon O’Neill, Molly Rosner, Cameron Rowland, Diana Carolina Sierra Becerra, Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, C. Riley Snorton, and Martha Tenney.

Plus workshops with Borderlands Archives Cartography, the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, the NYC Trans Oral History Project, and XFR. Exhibits featuring Librarians and Archivists for Palestine, No Selves to Defend, The Medical Industrial Complex Timeline, and The Scholar and Feminist: An Interactive Archive.


This year’s Scholar and Feminist conference builds on BCRW’s close collaboration with the Barnard College Archives to address the complex questions that circulate around the politics and ethics of archival work. Central to traditional scholarly work in reconstructing and interpreting the past, archives are perhaps even more crucial to the preservation of the stories and legacies of marginalized communities and political movements.

The S&F Conference will bring together archivists, librarians, artists, activists, and scholars to discuss the particular political and ethical challenges that reside in the project of creating archives for communities and social justice movements. How do we move beyond the notion of the archive as indifferent repository of textual, material, and digital materials and toward an archive of engagement? How can archival material be put to use to draw attention to muted histories and otherwise invisible networks of affiliation and connection? What difference do recent digital tools and capabilities make in the archiving and accessing of the past? How can archives empower communities to tell their own stories and offer others access to those stories without falling into the trap of appropriation? What political and ethical questions weigh most heavily on the contemporary work of the archive?

In addition to traditional keynotes and panels, the conference will feature workshops and exhibits to introduce participants to the wide array of work taking place among communities and their archivists at the current moment.

For more information about the exhibits, workshops, and speakers, visit the Barnard Center for Research on Women’s website.


Registration information

Registration is preferred but not required. Online registration will be open until the morning of the conference on Friday, February 8. Day-of registration will be available at the conference.
Please consider making a contribution with your registration. Your support makes our programming possible. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Conference Schedule


4 PM: Registration
4:30 – 6 PM: “a map you/ will have to know by your intention”: Archival Exhibits
The exhibit opening will take place during this time. Exhibits will remain on view for the duration of the conference.

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine: 2013 Delegation
With Grace Lile, Melissa Morrone, and Vani Natarajan

The Medical Industrial Complex Digital Timeline
Co-designed by Cara Page with Susan Raffo, and Anjali Taneja, shaped by other organizers and cultural workers including Project SouthSins Invalid and Leaving Evidence

No Selves to Defend
Conceived and curated by Mariame Kaba

The Scholar and Feminist Through the Decades: An Interactive Archive
Curated by Che Gossett, Marya McQuirter, Shannon O’Neill, and Martha Tenney

Title quote from Joy Harjo, “A Map to the Next World,” in A Map to the Next World. New York: Norton, 2000.

6:30 – 8 PM: “I preferred the world of imagination to the death of sleep”: A Reading and Conversation
Featuring Chinelo Okparanta and Akwaeke Emezi, with Yvette Christiansë
Title quote from Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987.

8 – 9 PM: Reception


9 – 10 AM: Registration and Breakfast

10 AM: Welcome

10:30 AM – 12 PM: “But words live in the spirit of her face and that/ sound will no longer yield to imperial erase”: Archiving Colonialism
Featuring La Vaughn Belle, Justin Leroy, Cameron Rowland, and C. Riley Snorton, moderated by Saidiya Hartman
Title quote from June Jordan, “A Song for Soweto” Copyright 2005 June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust; reprinted by permission; www.junejordan.com.

12 – 1 PM: Lunch
Please pick up lunch in the designated lower level classroom(s) or in common area on the fifth floor. Lunch may be brought into classrooms during workshops.

12:30 – 2 PM: “a boat, even a wrecked and wretched boat/ still has all the possibilities of moving”: Workshops on Archival Practice

Dismantling the Toxic Discourses through Archives and Public Data
Facilitated by Maira E. Álvarez and Sylvia Fernández

Learning from Queensbridge: The Gardiner-Shenker Scholars Program
Facilitated by Molly Rosner and Steve Lang, La Guardia and Wagner Archives

Community Oral History Interviewer Training with the NYC Trans Oral History Project
Facilitated by Sebastián Castro Niculescu and Abram J. Lewis

XFR Collective
Facilitated by Robin Margolis and Marie Lascu

Title quote from Dionne Brand, “Inventory,” in Inventory. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2013.

2 – 2:15 PM: Break
Coffee and tea will be provided in the lower level lobby.

2:15 – 3:30 PM: “Every generation confronts the task of choosing its past”: Case Studies in Archiving for Activist Movements
Panel discussion featuring Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, Laura McTighe, and Maria Cotera, moderated by Elizabeth Castelli
Title quote from Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007. 

3:30 – 3:45 PM: Break
Coffee and tea will be provided in the lower level lobby.

3:45 – 5 PM: “Imagine a woman/ asking: How many workersfor this freedom quilt”: Building an Archive of Domestic Worker Organizing, Now and Before
Panel discussion featuring Jennifer Guglielmo, Michelle Joffroy, Premilla Nadasen, Monique Tú Nguyen, Riya Ortiz, Diana Carolina Sierra Becerra, moderated by Miriam Neptune
Title quote from Sonia Sanchez, “Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman,” in Poetry, April 2018.

5 – 5:15 PM: Break

5:15 – 6:15: Graveyards of Exclusion: Archives, Prisons, and the Bounds of Belonging
Keynote by Jarrett Drake

6:15 – 7 PM: Reception


February 8 @ 4:00 pm
February 9 @ 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Barnard Center for Research on Women


The Diana Center
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027 United States
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