CFP: Radical Archives

Call for Papers for a  Special Issue of  Archive Journal on the theme of  Radical Archives
Deadline: April 15, 2015

“Radical archives” and “radical archiving” are concepts that continue to gain currency among archivists, artists and cultural theorists alike, but to date, discussions of “radical archives” and “radical archiving” often appear to rest on an assumed rather than articulated understanding of what these concepts mean. For this special issue of Archive Journal (scheduled for Fall 2015), we seek essays (3000 to 5000 words), reviews, and/or interviews (text, image, audio and video formats welcome) that address one or more of the following questions with the aim of bringing greater clarity to the “radical” in discussions of archives and archiving:

·         What do we mean when we talk about “radical archives” and “radical archiving”? Does the “radical” point to a specific politic, to types of content, or to a set of practices that challenge archival standards?

·         How might we define “radical content” and “radical practice” in relation to archives?

·         Are radical practices necessarily opposed to archival standards?

·         To what extent are archival standards responsive to change? Why do cultural theorists’ accounts of archives so often rest on the assumption that archives are by definition resistant to change? Is there an investment in understanding archives as sites of inflexibility and stagnation?

·         Is radical content (e.g., the archives of activist collectives, social movements, or avant-garde artists) best served by practices that eschew archival standards? What are the short and long-term consequences of such decisions?

·         How might community-based archives support the work of institutional collections and vice-versa? Furthermore, what questions, anxieties and/or possibilities are opened up when we begin to think about preservation across these spaces?

·         What, in fact, do we mean by “archives”? For many outside of libraries and institutional archives, the term has come simply to mean a collection of “curated” materials. How do we talk about “radical archives” without a shared understanding of what an archive is, or of what it signifies for different types of practitioners and theorists?

·         How might the work of cultural theorists with investments in radical, activist and queer archives benefit from a deeper engagement with the practices, discourses and perspectives of working archivists, and vice versa?

Please send submissions to guest editors Lisa Darms ( and Kate Eichhorn ( by 15 April 2015. Proposals should include a brief (200-word)
professional biography.

An open access, peer-reviewed journal, Archive Journal seeks content that speaks to its diverse audience that includes librarians, scholars, archivists, technologists, and students.