Archives and Geography: Knowledge, Politics, Ethics Part II

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Calvert Room, Omni, East
Organizers: Laura Crawford, Irene Hardill
Chairs: Janice Monk


Archival material in its many forms is widely used to understand social problems across the social sciences, humanities and indeed geography. In this session we focus on human geography’s engagement with the ‘archive as subject’ (as opposed to ‘archive-as-source’) (Ashmore et al. 2012: 82; Mills, 2013), focusing in particular on issues of access, ethics, trust, and Intellectual Property Rights. This session welcomes papers addressing the methodological challenges encountered when conducting archival research (Gagen et al. 2007) and will provide a platform to discuss navigating archival material with care. The session takes inspiration from Moore’s (2010) paper which encourages new directions and reflexive practices in relation to ethical approaches when working on sensitive and/or controversial topics.

Archival material can elevate the voices of ‘others’ and help shape and construct ‘alternative histories’, expanding the parameters of what is known. Yet through this process, the researcher may face a number of ethical dilemmas about how to expand knowledge whilst simultaneously managing these sensitivities. Indeed, the production of knowledge from archival sources often requires collaborative work with archivists and organisational representatives. This session will discuss ways to define relationships in a way which fosters trust and defines the parameters for data use and dissemination. Further still, the session will consider the role of the researcher in advocating for inclusivity through the space of the archive. In summary, we invite papers that explicitly consider the methodological, ethical and practice-based considerations relating to archival research.

We would particularly like to encourage papers on the following themes:

• Creators, producers, and guardians of material
• The politics of the archive and addressing absences
• Co-producing knowledge through archival engagements
• Ethics, positionality and reflexivity
• Negotiating access and establishing trust with key stakeholders/project partners
• Inclusive archival practices- widening access, preserving heritage and cataloguing collections
• Oral histories, archival ‘voices’ and sonic geographies of the archive


Ashmore, P., Craggs, R. and Neate, H. (2012). Working-with: talking and sorting in personal archives, Journal of Historical Geography 38: 81–89.
Gagen, E. A., Lorimer, H. and Vasudevan, A. (2007) (eds) Practising the Archive: Reflections on Methods and Practice in Historical Geography, Historical Geography Research Series, no.40
Mills, S. (2013) Cultural-Historical Geographies of the Archive: Fragments, Objects and Ghosts, Geography Compass 7: 701-713.
Moore, F. P. L. (2010). Tales from the archive: methodological and ethical issues in historical geography research. Area 42: 262–270.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Janice Monk University of Arizona 5 3:05 PM
Presenter Declan Cullen*, , "Two Eyed Seeing": against, along, and beyond the archival grain 20 3:10 PM
Presenter Nuria Benach*, Universitat de Barcelona, “Fighting for our dignity”: A people’s historical archive at the urban edges of Barcelona 20 3:30 PM
Presenter Ileana Diaz*, University of Waterloo, Geographies of the plantation in Puerto Rico: tracing the politics of Afro-Latinx participation in food production and activism 20 3:50 PM
Discussant Irene Hardill Northumbria University, UK 15 4:10 PM

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