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Excavating MemorySites of Remembering and Forgetting$
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Maria Theresia Starzmann and John R. Roby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061603

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061603.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

The Future of the Painful Past

The Future of the Painful Past

Archival Labor and Materiality in the South Asian American Digital Archive

(p.376) 17 The Future of the Painful Past
Excavating Memory

Michelle Caswell

University Press of Florida

This chapter uncovers the archival labor and expertise involved in the presentation of a single record in an online archive. By tracing the “social life” of a suicide note in the South Asian American Digital Archive—its creation, preservation, archivization, appraisal, digitization, and reception—this chapter exposes the complex social, ethical, and technical issues that mediate the appearance of records in digital archives. This discussion brings to fore the materiality of digital records, unveiling how digitizing paper records transforms them from one material form to another and, in so doing, constitutes a series of technical, professional, and ethical judgments. It also exposes the role of the archivist in producing and exposing historical meanings and silences, ultimately affirming the importance of the archivist, archival labor and expertise, and archives as social institutions in shaping collective memory of painful pasts.

Keywords:   Archives, Digital Archives, Silence, Ethics, Collective Memory

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