"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing," Thomas Jefferson famously wrote in 1787. If that is the case, archival collections are full of good things, since rebellions —big and small, violent and peaceful— appear throughout history regularly. But how do we deal with records of insurrection? Do we need to account for cultural perspectives? Is one’s hero someone else’s villain? Thomas Jefferson is a prime example of the importance of cultural context. He was held up as a pillar of the fight against tyranny for over 200 years until the new generation of scholars and activists brought into focus his role as a slave owner who fathered children by his slaves. How do archivists address these very different aspects of the same story?
As the professionals who preserve primary sources for today’s and tomorrow’s scholars it is important for us to be cognizant of the fight against the accepted pieties and to sometimes take an active role in that fight ourselves. This symposium will help us to think about our role in the construction of future histories and when we need to join the rebellion.
Co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish History and with generous support from the MetLife Foundation, the October 2019 New York Archives Week Symposium willconsider, celebrate, and critique rebellion. Join us as we explore all aspects of sedition, defiance, and mutiny —historical, personal, professional— to try to ascertain when it is right to revolt, and (just as importantly) when it is not.
Symposium Date: 17 October 2019
Location: Center for Jewish History
9:00 – 9:15 Registration
9:15 – 9:30 Opening remarks (Deidre Dinnigan, President, A.R.T.)
9:30 - 10:30 Keynote speaker (Ian Beilin, Editor, In the Library with the Lead Pipe)
10:45 - 12:00 Challenges of Collecting Rebel Material
"Radical Records: Anti-Design and Disruption in 1960-70s Italy" (Michelle Jackson-Beckett, Director of Archives & Publications, R & Company)
"La Lucha: The Struggle to Save Hostos in the South Bronx 1974-76 (William A. Casari, College Archivist/Library, Hostos Community College)
"The Slave Revolt of 1712: The Provision and Omission of Justice in Early New York" (Geof Huth, Chief Records Officer / Chief Law Librarian, Unified Court System)