Archives of Transformation at Biddy Mason Park

Friday October 11, 2013
UCLA Bunche Hall 6349

WORKING GROUP SESSION #2 (At Biddy Mason Park)
Saturday October 12, 2013
Biddy Mason Park
331 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, 90013; Click here for map

3:30 pm Depart USC THH Room 106, USC
Catch 81 Bus on Figueroa/Jefferson to Eagle Rock Plaza. Get off Hill &
4th. OR, Catch Metro Expo Line to  7th St/Metro Station and Purple Line to Pershing Station
4:00 pm Meet 331 S. Spring St.
7:00 pm Dinner


The UCLA Information Studies Working Group is composed of Library and Information Studies graduate students focusing on Archival Studies who are interested in engaging with other disciplines. History, literature, and cultural studies increasingly refer to the archives in their work as a site of power and identity formation.  Archival scholars also work on issues of power/knowledge through critical analysis of archival practices and systems. Recent archival scholarship uses critical analysis and ethnographic methods from the humanities and social sciences to question the relationship between document creation,[1] custody[2], and rights as it pertains to archival practice.

For example, in urban communities people of color, immigrants, and other disenfranchised groups have a history of dealing with city and state claims to property, redlining, and eminent domain to justify development projects.[3]  This process has led to the destruction of communities, as these projects and practices divided and created the context for alienation, tension and violence among once cohesive communities.

We are interested in the politics of epistemology in the study of archives[4]. Government archives, that deployed resources to redevelop communities through claiming eminent domain, had more power over communities and their value of the neighborhood in which they lived. If the field of Archives is concerned with collecting, describing and preserving records, how do we contextualize archival practice within the milieu of power it is situated in?  How do we take into account how place has been developed based on the politics of epistemology and archive-power? How do we engage the epistemologies of “common” or subaltern people, including women, people of color, working class people, immigrant groups, social activists, indigenous people, non-literary cultures, as a site of power in which archival practice and/or access is contextualized?

Working Group Session #1: October 11, 2013, 4:00-7:00pm

  • Introductions with participants
  • Workshop on archives, place and power
  • Going over Saturday Itinerary


Working Group Session #1: October 12, 2013, 3:30-7:00pm

Our community tour will focus on Biddy Mason Park, which stands on land important to Native Americans, Chican@s, Euro-Americans, African Americans and Asian Pacific Americans.  We will hold a ceremony and ask participants to contribute an archival record and a story: How does the historical narratives at the Biddy Mason Park relate to them?  What disciplines are participants from, and what archives do they engage with, create and/or transform? We aim to build relationships among students through dialogue about archival concepts.

This tour will be documented. We hope to use the information gathered and relationships built to organize future panel presentations and publications.

Tentative Program

    • Introduction:  the Archive, Power, and Place, here at Biddy Mason Park
    • Tour of Biddy Mason Park
    • Ceremony [5]
    • Closing
Ellen-Rae Cachola is a PhD Candidate in UCLA’s Information Studies Department.  Her research interests is in community based activist archives—how they provide access to read the politics of archives, and how to create archives that catalyze social transformation. She participates in the HEMI GSI to build collaborations with people interested in demilitarization and decolonization activism.

Dalena Hunter is a third year doctoral student in the Information Studies program at UCLA. Her research studies are concerned with archives and its connection to identity formation in the United States.  She is currently working on a project that questions the relationship between ethnographic data and its preservation and reuse in ethnic communities. She participates in the HEMI GSI to explore new ways of approaching questions in archival theory in conversation with methods from other disciplines.

[1] Ciaran B. Trace, “What Is Recorded Is Never Simply ‘what Happened’: Record Keeping in Modern Organizational Culture,” Archival Science 2, no. 1 (2002): 137–159.

[2] J. A. Bastian, “Taking Custody, Giving Access: a Postcustodial Role for a New Century,” Archivaria 1, no. 53 (2002),

[3] Habal, Estella. San Francisco’s International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (2007)

[4] Terry Cook, “Fashionable Nonsense or Professional Rebirth: Postmodernism and the Practice of Archives,” Archivaria 1, no. 51 (2001),

[5] De Guia, Katrin (2005) Kapwa: the Self in the Other: Worldview and Lifestyles of Filipino Culture-Bearers. Baguio: Anvil Publishing, Inc.


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