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The Making of a Global Order: Archival Repatriation for Land and Freedom - J.J. Ghaddar

Why did the Truth & Reconciliation Commission have to take the Government of Canada to court multiple times to access records at Library & Archives Canada? What is the significance of the call of the Association of Commonwealth Archivists & Records Managers for the return of the ‘migrated archives’ taken by Britain from its former colonies? Who has a right to the archives taken from Iraq after the U.S. invasion? Through these 3 cases, Ghaddar will trace the international laws, conventions and principles that govern how archives repatriation or restitution is negotiated, contested, and resolved in times of war and conflict when state borders shift and jurisdictions change. These include the UN’s Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives & Debts (1983), which calls for global archival repatriation and the decolonizing of archiving. Through the Convention, the UN’s Third World Bloc sought to operationalize the principle of self-determination in the archives and heritage fields as part of a broader initiative known as the New World Information & Communication Order. Drawing on archival records, Ghaddar argues that through the crafting of the Convention and attendant debates, Global South actors reimagined the nature, ownership and repatriation of archives. Archival concepts like ‘provenance’ and ‘pertinence’ were connected to the reclamation of land, self-determination, and internationalism in radically new ways. This presentation highlights the dynamics of power undergirding global archival standardization and integration, and how Global South histories and ideas can inform contemporary debates about archival repatriation and decolonization.  

This series is co-sponsored by THINC Lab and Scholars Studio.

About the speaker

J.J. Ghaddar is a long time archivist and librarian who is completing a PhD at U of T’s Faculty of Information. Her professional practice has taken her around the world, from the Nelson Mandela Foundation's Centre for Memory in Johannesburg and the American University of Beirut's Jafet Library to UofT's Bora Laskin Law Library and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. Her research excavates anticolonial Arab histories and Third World movements through an examination of developments in the global information and heritage order in the mid-20th century. It forms part of a larger intellectual project that interrogates the complex dynamics between race, colonialism, gender, history, memory, citizenship, nationalism and archives in the modern Middle East, during Canadian Confederation, in France, and at UNESCO. Ghaddar has been awarded a Eugene Garfield Dissertation Fellowship from the American Library Association, a Senior Doctoral Fellowship in Equity from UofT's New College, and a multiyear SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship from the Government of Canada. She has published and presented at numerous venues, including Archival Science, American Archivist, Library Quarterly and Archivaria. Her publication in the latter on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission was awarded the Association of Canadian Archivists’ Lamb Award Ghaddar is a co-convener of The Global South Feminist Media & Archives School at UofT's McLuhan Centre and a member of the International Intellectual History of Archival Studies research network.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Library 289 Scholars Studio
McLaughlin Library