Introducing the Third World Archives Solidarity Project

UC San Diego’s Lumumba Zapata Collective is happy to announce the Third World Archives Solidarity Project. We are seeking to develop a network of scholars and community members who may be interested in offering material support to DIY archives in the Global South which center the historical experiences of subaltern groups.

It is summer now, and many of us in the academic world are traveling abroad to do fieldwork and to visit archives. Sadly, many of the archives that we encounter are not always in the best shape. Most are sustained by volunteer labor and volunteer fundraising, offering difficulties for supporting optimal preservation environments for historical documents and for those who work to maintain these spaces. Moreover, these archives are often located within houses, meeting spaces, infoshops, popular libraries, and union halls that continue to serve as organizing spaces for radical political projects.

Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU) Archive and Biblioteca Popular, located in the back of the Aragon Printshop in Montevideo (Uruguay)

Alana Kumbier, in Ephemeral Material: Queering the Archive (2014) and Michelle Caswell, in “Teaching to Dismantle White Supremacy in Archives” (2017) propose refreshing approaches to deconstructing oppressive systems of power while working as investigators inside of archives. In the same spirit, we propose the TWASProject as a means for supporters to show solidarity and provide mutual aid from outside of these spaces.

Information for how to participate located in the statement below:

Welcome to the Third World Archives Solidarity Project. We are a project of the UC San Diego Lumumba Zapata Collective and trace our existence to a long-standing tradition of Third World solidarity among academics who seek to make a better world.

There are thousands of autonomously-run archives located throughout the Global South, run mostly by local volunteers, political activists, and/or historical protagonists themselves. These spaces serve not only as repositories of historical memory, but also as spaces for political organizing and solidarity building. Due to their disassociation from the state (i.e. National Libraries, Judicial Archives, National Archives, etc), many of these spaces play a key role in the preservation of historical memory of US imperialism and the history of accompanying resistance movements.

However, many of these archives are in dire need of physical repairs to the spaces in which they are located, which often experience leaks, excessive humidity, threats of eviction or closure, and more. The goal of this project is to redirect resources from academics and academic institutions in the core of US Empire to autonomous archive spaces in the Global South. Many of us use these spaces in our own work, and we notably benefit from their accessibility in our own careers. Through material support, we challenge the unidirectional relationship that many academics have with archival spaces – we move away from being investigators and toward being collaborators.

How to solicit funds:

We are open to applications for funds from any academic or community member who has encountered an autonomous archive in need of repair located anywhere in the Global South (i.e. Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean). We will reach out to collaborators in an effort to raise at least $100 in donations, depending on what collaborators can offer at the given moment.

Please send an email to twsaproject@gmail.com with the title SOLICITING FUNDS: (ENTER NAME OF ARCHIVE)

Please describe the archive and its conditions. Where is it located? What material does it host? What reparations are needed? How much do they cost? How does the archive align with broader goals of decolonization, anti-imperialism, global emancipation? Also, please tell us a bit about your own work and purpose for visiting this archive. Finally, what is your relationship with those who operate the space?

How to collaborate:

Please send an email to twsaproject@gmail.com with the title COLLABORATOR (ENTER YOUR NAME HERE) if you would like to be included on our mailing list as a potential contributor. We will send out periodic emails to solicit funds (ideally, $5 contributions) from collaborators on a case-by-case basis. Proposals will be sent to us, and we will send them out to the mailing list with a description of where to send the cash via Paypal.

Archives with whom we have collaborated (as of July 2017):

*Biblioteca Popular José Ingenieros (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

*Biblioteca de la Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Montevideo, Uruguay)

 

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