Celebrating National Archives Week!
"Archival Bodies: Ethos and Ethics of Embodied Productions"
by Jamie A. Lee, Assistant Professor of Digital Culture, Information, and Society, School of Information
Archival bodies take shape, and reciprocally shape the records creators who engage with the archives, through records, collections, practices, and productions. Utilizing the body as a framework to explore archives and their productions as always-in-motion, flexible, and dynamic, I interrogate the archival body through concepts of ethos and ethics. Beginning with an understanding of ethos as “an atmosphere, climate, disposition, and essence,” I move to make a connection to ethics that draws from political theorist Jane Bennett’s definition of ethics as “a complex set of relays between moral contents, aesthetic-affective styles, and public moods” (Bennett, 2010, p. xii). In this presentation, I question the climates in which hands-on practices might offer proposed archival ethos and ethics that are attentive to diverse, dynamic, and distinct bodies and bodies of knowledge to consider multiple histories, lived contexts, and meaning-making practices throughout archival productions.
*Bennett J (2010) Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things. Duke University Press.