Evans – Question 1
1What does it mean for an archive to be, or to be made, “radical”?
Meredith R. Evans
Associate University Librarian – Washington University
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 A radical archive is a digital or physical repository that holds evidentiary content that supports political or social reform or activism. It often represents the voice of concerned citizens or organizations who desire to hold leadership accountable for its actions and to express opinions about societal issues. It can also assemble content that is secretive or illicit, or include formative documents that communicate the workings of a social movement. These archives can be one-sided, but when hosted by cultural or research institutions, rather than by the originating person or organization, the attempt is to be unbiased. For an institutional archive to serve as a neutral custodian of radical content can be political in itself, but such an archive can also provide a more robust corpus of records of events and viewpoints that may otherwise go undocumented.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 While the custody of records can be viewed as radical, a form of activism, so can the actual act of capturing the content itself. Documenting Ferguson, for example, contains content that was uploaded by participants in a protest. Any time there is a sense that the discovery of certain records could lead to trouble or reprimand, the creation and collection of those records is radical.