Document Type


Publication Date


Conference Title

Archival Education and Research Institute

Conference Date

July 8-12, 2016


Kent, OH, United States


Over the past several decades, authors from within and without the archival profession have applied poststructural theories to the Archive and archives. Several authors have used the term "archival gaze," but the phrase has been neither defined nor thoroughly interrogated in the published literature. We seek to understand what makes a gaze archival, and what the implications for archival practice are. We will present on research in progress intended to articulate a definition and model of the archival gaze. Drawing on diplomatics, poststructuralism and Gaze theories (including Mulvey and hooks), this research explores the dynamics of power present in the archival gaze. To do so, we propose three layers of gaze analysis: content, documentary and archival. Within these layers, we examine the flow and manifestation of power between four actors (defined in relation to the record: subject, creator, viewer and archivist), and the information activities that this power enables. We will present our definition and model and discuss the results of our research so far.



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