Celebrating National Archives Week!
"Fugitive Archiving: Ephemera and Community Expressions"
by Diana Daly, Assistant Professor, School of Information
Archival tradition is based on cyclical colonial power dynamics that surround exclusive histories with “negative space,” and community is a theme connecting many stories that have been excluded. One push to break out of these cycles is the recent archival scholarship around “communities of records” that has ignited new interest in communities’ embodied expressions, although questions remain around how we can include embodied expressions and particularly community performances in archival practice. I propose one key to archiving around communities is ephemera, the concept in archival studies and library science under which short-lived or "difficult" materials are classified.” In this work, I broaden the classification ephemera to include performance and locate this broadened understanding of ephemera at the center of communities' dynamic commemorative practices. To study community-situated ephemeral commemoration I conduct qualitative case study analysis of the All Souls Procession of Tucson, Arizona, an annual community event in honor of the dead. Through this analysis I map one area of negative archival space by drawing an analytical guide to one community's commemorative repertoires and archival scenario play. The goal of this analysis is to twofold: First, I hope to illuminate a growing subcultural form of commemoration for archival professionals to consider in the drive toward more inclusive histories; Second, I hope to enrich understandings of commemorative expressions to help the information and archival sciences form more vital relationships with dynamic communities, networks, and disciplines.