2024 Conference: Archives in the Atlantic

2024 Conference Call for Proposals: “Archives in the Atlantic”
Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program at the College of Charleston
May 16 -18, 2024

Archives and related memory keeping institutions such as museums, libraries, and archaeological repositories have a collective mandate to document and preserve cultural heritage objects such as oral histories, textual records, artifacts, images, and textiles. In recent years, cultural heritage institutions responsible for collecting and preserving evidence of a shared past are confronting, re-examining, and in many cases making efforts to repair harmful, exploitative, or exclusive policies, practices, and norms. These include disrupting the widespread tendency for privileging, preserving, and reproducing a history that is predominantly white and further silencing the voices and histories of marginalized peoples and communities. 

The “Archives in the Atlantic” Conference will explore the ways archives and related cultural heritage institutions throughout the Atlantic World are confronting shared legacies of imperialism, slavery, and Indigenous dispossession through decolonizing traditional standards, developing liberatory practices, and expanding networks of belonging and representation. 

How can archival and curatorial institutions and the people who use them employ ethics of care when working with or studying communities affected by historical injustice, plunder of material culture, or erasure from the historic record? How can archivists, curators, and memory workers create more inclusive and representative holdings and build trust with members of historically marginalized and disenfranchised communities and groups? How has the landscape of repatriation transformed and how have these processes evolved in the tension between institutions, those who work within them, and stakeholder communities? Within the confines of those institutions, how do we confront and correct the curatorial decisions of past stewards of collections who perpetuated historical violences via their practice?

Other Potential Topics Include: 

  • Reparative and Inclusive Description and/or Metadata Remediation
  • Ethical Collecting
  • Repatriating Collections 
  • Working with Indigenous Communities
  • Historic Preservation-National Trust-Saving Places
  • Working with Descendant Communities 
  • Black Memory Workers
  • Community Archiving 
  • Digital Archives and Digital Exhibits
  • HBCUs and Tribal Archives and Libraries 
  • Interpretation 
  • Developing Authentic Partnerships 
  • Cultural Humility in Archives and Museum Settings 

Submissions and Evaluation 

We especially welcome proposals from individuals who bring diverse professional and life experiences to the conference, including those from underrepresented or historically excluded racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, immigrants, veterans, those with disabilities, and people of all sexual orientations or gender identities. As we have done in the past, the Program Committee will prioritize submissions from individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), individuals working at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and practitioners whose work promote justice and inclusivity to the greatest extent possible.

All submissions will be reviewed by members of the program committee.

Submission Formats

Proposals are invited in the following lengths and formats:

  • Session (3-4 participants, 60-75 minutes total): Session consisting of three to four individuals each with a separate presentation on a common theme or topic. 
  • Panel (3-4 participants, 75-90 minutes total): Session consisting of a panel of three to four individuals discussing theories or perspectives on a given topic. The goal of a panel discussion is to have a more informal session with time for audience feedback. 
  • Individual Presentation (15-20 minutes): Although session and panel proposals are preferred, the program committee will collate accepted proposals for individual presentations into concurrent sessions. 
  • Workshop (90-120 minutes): include description as well as learning objectives (brief, clear statements about what attendees will be able to do as a result of taking your proposed workshop)

Proposal Requirements

  • Proposal title
  • Submission format (individual, session, panel, or workshop)
  • First and last names, organizational affiliations, and email addresses for all presenters. Brief individual CVs are optional but very welcome
  • Brief abstract – limited to 50 words
  • Full proposal – limited to 250 words for individual; 500 words for sessions, panels, and workshops
  • Five keywords for your proposal
  • Learning objectives (workshops only) – limited to 50 words; brief, clear statements about what attendees will be able to do as a result of taking your proposed workshop
  • Note: All submissions are under a CC-BY 4.0 license, which allows for sharing and adaptation of content but which requires appropriate credit and an indication of any changes made by others. 

The proposal submission form can be found here: https://forms.gle/WwnTop1UJN37dVvG6

Please email claw@cofc.edu with questions regarding submissions or the conference in general. 


We look forward to reviewing your proposals. 

More information about registration will be forthcoming.