Diversified Community Archiving Practices as Resilience

Justin Dunnavant
Anthropology
UC Los Angeles

Jun Sunseri
Anthropology
UC Berkeley


The last decade has seen a drastic increase in archaeologies of colonialism with scholars all over the world studying the impact of global capitalism, slavery, and imperialism over the last 500 years. Topics ranging from the Anthropocene to economic trade and development have occupied the interest of a myriad of humanistic social scientists. Moreover, as archaeologists and other academics are living and working in communities directly impacted by colonial legacies, discussions of community-based scholarship and forms of archiving have become increasingly important. Colonialism has led to an upheaval of Indigenous archives and knowledge systems, replacing oral tradition, intergenerational knowledge transmission, and embodied practices with a written record that is heavily biased by colonial motivations. How do archaeologists, historians, geographers, artists, museum specialists, and other academics become allies to community leaders addressing the legacies of colonialism? How can these partnerships between academics and community leaders support priorities that the communities themselves have identified as pressing issues in the wake of colonialism such as climate upheaval and economic precarity? The goal of the working group is to reformulate the contributions of UC faculty and community leaders in order to engage in a critical discussion of colonialism and community-engaged scholarship and to rethink how we perceive, support, and contribute to the diversity of community “archives” that exist outside of written ones.