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Sunday, March 22 • 9:30am - 10:30am
Known Unknowns and Unknown Knowns: Privacy, Secrets, and the Limitations of Archives

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Cultural Expectation of Privacy and Archives in Qatar — Tiffany Schureman, University Archivist, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar; co-author, Annabel Armstrong-Clarke, Digital Media Archivist, Virginia Commonwealth University

Spies Like Us?: Scholars, Spies, and Secrets in ICFA's Archives — Shalimar Fojas White, Manager, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA), Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections

Cultural Protocol vs. Academic Privilege: Researching Indigenous Cultures — heather ahtone, James T. Bialac Assistant Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma

Shalimar Fojas White, Manager, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA), Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections

Researchers encounter two types of secrets in archives. Sensitive information may be restricted to address issues of privacy or confidentiality. Alternatively, records relevant to a particular query are either not preserved or were never created. Archivists must mediate a balance between providing the public with broad access to archival materials and respecting the concerns of individuals, whether creators, donors, or subjects. The papers in this session will explore the lacunae and limits of archives, whose holdings may not adequately reflect the voices of marginalized communities or whose policies must be adjusted to respect differing cultural norms. The speakers will also consider the ethics embedded in managing archives, as they relate to privacy, confidentiality, cultural sensitivity, and even a bit of espionage.

In Qatar there is an expectation of privacy as it relates both to images of people and names associated with images. Tiffany Schureman will present a paper she co-authored with Annabel Armstrong-Clarke that discusses how the Virginia Commonwealth University Archives tries to find a balance between respecting the cultural importance of privacy in this region and providing access to images.

Using examples from the Dumbarton Oaks Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Shalimar Fojas White will investigate parallels between archival work and espionage. She will also explore how discovering links to intelligence agencies enriched the understanding of the archives’ creators, as well as the ethical issues involved with managing scholarly archives that contain sensitive information.

The academic community has constructed an extensive body of knowledge on Indigenous communities using “traditional” Euro-American a priori accepted assumptions. heather ahtone will examine how the published body of knowledge about tribal communities is not synchronous with the lived body of knowledge held by tribal communities.

Sunday March 22, 2015 9:30am - 10:30am CDT
Room: Sundance 1 Omni Fort Worth Hotel 1300 Houston Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102

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