Dissertation Information for Kelvin Lewis White
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: The dynamics of race and remembering in a "colorblind" society: A case study of racial paradigms and archival education in Mexico
Abstract: With a growing theoretical debate within Archival Science about the place of post-modern and post-colonial ideas and the impact that these might have upon archival practice, has come a realization that there are many communities whose experiences are not recorded in official narratives of the states in which they are located. This absence can partly be explained by the non-elite status of members of these communities or because their community practices, culture, and beliefs are often based upon non-textual ways of making and keeping records that fall outside the accepted archival paradigm. Data from a study on the conditions and circumstances of archival education in Pacific Rim countries has indicated that both archival educators and professionals are not educated or being educated, to address the ways of remembering that are traditional in ethnic or Indigenous communities. Instead, archival education curricula tend to highlight national political and enterprise priorities and internationally-developed best practices. Using a case study of a community of African heritage in the Costa Chica in Mexico, this dissertation examines how such absences from the official record and recordkeeping come into being in Mexico, where the problem of underdocumented and underacknowledged communities is potentially exacerbated by the philosophy of mestizaje --the racial mixture of Indigenous and Spanish bloodlines and culture. Furthermore, the dissertation examines the extent to which archival education in Mexico consciously addresses these racial paradigms, specifically that of mestizaje , in order to understand the role that education of archival professionals might play in addressing absences in the record, and to generate recommendations for how the effect on cultural heritage of mestizaje might be partly remediated by changing what is currently taught in formal archival education.
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