Open graves, open archives: Ethics and evidence
Fascinating workshop in April 2016 being hosted by Haverford College and Bard College.
From their website:
‘The purpose of this symposium is to create dialogue between two distinct sites where evidence is preserved and information disseminated for the purposes of the broader public good: archives and mass graves. In recent years, the growth of digital archives and digital humanities have raised questions about preservation, ownership, and privacy. For example, how can archivists and digital humanists attend to the virtual and physical possessions of native peoples who have traditionally had their things archived without their consent? Another form of “archival” technology, the forensic investigation of mass graves, has become a dominant form of post-conflict truth-telling. In the course of these investigations, however, experts have discovered the dangers in adopting a purely evidentiary approach to graves and bodies—for example, when for religious or political reasons the families of the missing wish not to have their dead disturbed.
In both the digital archive and the mass grave, there is a significant professional imperative towards preservation and documentation, but also times where the “open archive” can do violence to communities, defying their beliefs about the proper treatment of the dead and prolonging trauma. This symposium, which features innovative scholars and practitioners from archives, digital humanities, forensic science, anthropology, and crisis management, centers on these cross-cutting questions about ethics, agency, cultural risk, and the recovery and preservation of evidence. It seeks to create new and ongoing collaborative relationships across fields oriented towards innovative evidentiary practices, and to establish an agenda for further work in both scholarship and professional ethics.’
Full details and speakers’ list here.