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Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace


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About the Author

Linda Morra is a full professor at Bishop's University. She was the Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies (2016-2017) at University College Dublin and a visiting scholar at Berkeley, University of California (2016). Her book Unarrested Archives (2014) was a finalist for the Gabrielle Roy Prize. Jessica Schagerl's research focuses on Canadian studies, drawing heavily on archival material; she is also invested in questions of professional concern, including mentoring and the futures of arts and humanities. She is the alumni and development officer for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Western Ontario.


``Basements and Attics theorizes archives as non-neutral sites, and articulates archival work as open to critical interpretations and methodologies.... Each section explores alternative research by highlighting the resourcefulness of publishers' archives, private collections, or digital repositories. The contributions included in 'Reorientations' and 'Responsibilities, ' for instance, constitute excellent 'how-to' guides for researchers interested not only in how archives problematize (dis)location, representation, and cultural translation, but also in ethical (re)readings of an author's literary career.... Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace...serves as an essential guide in defining what constitutes an archive--as an ideologically and culturally constructed site--and in addressing pertinent challenges encountered both in the creation and study of Canadian women's archives, and also those presented by the advent of new technologies.''--Cristina Ivanovici "Canadian Literature, 219, Winter 2013 "
``Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace is a fine example of the systematic ways in which Canadian scholars (to a greater degree, perhaps, than their Australian counterparts) have successfully opened out and responded to some of the larger and more compelling questions concerning what it means to work in, and with, archived personal papers, whether as archivists or researchers. As Morra and Schagerl observe, their collection 'addresses the real and sometimes peculiar challenges that affect archival work today', and they freely admit that some of that work now involves 'deciding what constitutes and archive' (p. 1). The subtitle, Explorations in Canadian Women's Archives, indicates that the volume is especially directed towards those engaged in ongoing debates concerning the archiving of material produced by women, but those professing little or no knowledge of these debates or Canadian literature more generally still have much to gain from these detailed and sometimes provocative essays. If, as Catherine Hobbs suggests in her contribution ... 'archival theory has done a terrible job of accommodating the particular needs of individual peoples' archives' (p. 181), this volume arguably goes some way towards addressing this lacuna. Comprising 20 essays, as well as a lengthy introduction and afterword, it is a substantial work.... While the last section contains perhaps the most explicit reflection on questions of ethics, contributors across the volume consistently return to this aspect of archival work, thus making it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to extend their understanding of the many ethical dimensions invovled in managing personal papers, whether in their acquisition, processing, accessing or scholarly use.... [A] major contribution to ongoing debates in the area of personal papers.... Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace is a valuable addition to current scholarship and debate and, as such, deserves to be read and appreciated well beyond the Canadian border.''--Maryanne Dever "Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 41, No. 2 "

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