Series: Antiracism & Decolonization in Archival Studies Open Classrooms

Join us for the Fall 2022 edition of the open classroom series on antiracism and decolonization in the information professions, with a focus on archival studies in the 2022-2023 academic year.  

Click here to register (registration is free and open to all!)

The Fall 2022 open classrooms are hosted at the University of Manitoba’s History Department, sponsored by Dalhousie’s School of Information Management and CUNY’s Archival Technologies Lab, and supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. They are taking place as part of graduate courses taught by Dr. Jamila Ghaddar, which are: HIST7372 History of Archiving & Archival Records (Fall 2022) at the University of Manitoba’s History Department, and INFO6370 Records Management (Winter 2023) at Dalhousie University’s School of Information Management.

Contact Dr. Jamila Ghaddar (Assistant Professor, SIM) at

Note: CDST refers to local Winnipeg time. ADST refers to local Halifax time.

FALL 2022

Wednesday, October 26 @ 11:30am CDST / 1:30pm ADST: “Race, Capital & Empire: Placing Hilary Jenkinson into History,” a presentation by Riley Linebaugh (PhD), Research Associate, Leibniz Institute for European History.

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Abstract: This presentation provides a critical biography of Hilary Jenkinson with a focus on his 1912 publication, “The Records of the English African Companies,” his participation in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section during WWII, and his 1948 memo on colonial archives. Using these three points, it situates Jenkinson as an imperial actor through the lenses of race, capital and empire and extends reflection on these contexts into the development of Anglo-archival practice.

Biography: Riley Linebaugh (PhD) is a research associate at the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany. Her PhD, “Curating the Colonial Past: Britain’s ‘Migrated Archives’ and the Struggle for Kenya’s History,” analyzes the politics of the ownership, location and use of colonial archives in the Kenya-British case (1952-present day). Previously, she received her MA in Archives and Records Management from University College London. She has worked as an archivist in Uganda, England, and the U.S."

Lecture Readings:

  • Hilary Jenkinson (1922) A Manual of Archive Administration: Including the Problem of War Archives and Archive Making (Oxford: Clarendon Press), pp. 1-22.
  • Hilary Jenkinson (1912) “The Records of the English African Companies.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6: 185-220.
  • Walter Rodney (1970) “The Imperialist Partition of Africa.” Monthly Review 21(11): 103-114.
  • Shannon Hodge, Sarah Nantel, and Chris Trainor (2022) “Remnants of Jenkinson: Observations on Settler Archival Theory in Canadian Archival Appraisal Discourse.” Archives & Records 43(2): 147-60.
  • James Lowry and Verne Harris (2022) “Settler to Settler (Reading ‘Remnants of Jenkinson’).” Archives & Records 43(2): 161-163.
  • Mpho Ngoepe (2022) “Reflections on ‘Remnants of Jenkinson: Observations on Settler Archival Theory in Canadian Archival Appraisal Discourse.’” Archives and records 43(2): 164-165.
  • Greg Bak (2022) “Appraisal in Need of Re-Appraisal: Reflections on ‘Confronting Jenkinson’s Canon: Reimagining the ‘Destruction and Selection of Modern Archives” through the Auditor-General of South Africa’s Financial Audit Trail.’” Archives and records 43(2): 177-179.

Wednesday, November 16 @ 11:30am CDST / 1:30pm ADST: “Displaced Archives, Repatriation & the Vienna Convention: Global South Perspectives,” a panel with Dr. Ellen Namhila (Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Namibia), Dr. Nathan Mnjama (Professor, Department of Library & Information Studies, University of Botswana), and Dr. James Lowry (Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library & Information Studies, Queen’s College, CUNY).

Co-hosted with CUNY’s Archival Technologies Lab & Dalhousie University’s School of Information Management.

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Abstract: Nationally, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) called on Canadian archives, museums, and libraries to take up the challenge of decolonization, truth telling and national reconciliation. These calls reflect, among other things, the fact that the TRC had to take the Government of Canada to court multiple times over access to archives and records. The TRC’s successor body, the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, continues to face barriers to archival access to fulfill its vital mandate. Globally, similar archival challenges have been a feature of most truth and reconciliation initiatives from South Africa to Morocco. Similarly, contestations over archival access and ownership have been a feature of the relationship between European countries and their former colonies in Africa and Asia because records displaced to Europe in the context of Third World political decolonization in the mid-20th century have rarely been repatriated. How to imagine a future in which such archival legacies of colonialism are redressed? This open classroom explores this question with renowned personalities and leading experts, Dr. Ellen Namhila (Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Namibia), Dr. Nathan Mnjama (Professor, Department of Library & Information Studies, University of Botswana), and Dr. James Lowry (Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library & Information Studies, CUNY). Co-hosted by CUNY’s Archival Technologies Lab and Dalhousie University’s School of Information Management, this open classroom features cases from Namibia and Botswana, alongside consideration of the potential and limits of the Vienna Convention on the Succession of States with Respect to State Property, Archives & Debt (1983) to inform and help resolve disputed archival claims between now independent states and their former western colonial rulers.  


  • Ellen Ndeshi Namhila was born at Ondobe village in northern Namibia in 1963, and went into exile when she was twelve years old. She got her education in Namibia, Angola, Zambia, The Gambia, and Finland, obtaining an M.SSc. in Library and Information Science at the University of Tampere, Finland. She has worked as a researcher and librarian at the Multidisciplinary Research Centre; as a Deputy Director: Research, Information and Library Services at the Namibian Parliament; Director of Namibia Library and Archives Service in the Ministry of Education; University Librarian at the University of Namibia; and currently the Pro-ViceChancellor: Administration and Finance at the University of Namibia. Ellen is author of: The Price of Freedom, her autobiography (1997); Kahumba Kandola - Man and Myth: the Biography of a Barefoot Soldier (2005); Tears of Courage: Five Mothers Five Stories One Victory (2009); Mukwahepo: Woman, Soldier, Mother (2013); Native estates: records of mobility across colonial boundaries (2017); and “Little research value”: African estate records and colonial gaps in a post-colonial national archive (2017). She received her PhD degree at the University of Tampere, Finland in 2015.
  • Nathan Mnjama is a Professor in the Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Botswana with specialization in Archives and Records Management. His PhD was on Railway Records: Their Management and Exploitation in Kenya. Prof Mnjama has worked as an archivist and records manager at the Kenya National Archives and was responsible for the location and copying of Kenyan archives from the UK between 1980 and 1985. He has considerable experience in teaching and delivery of archives and records management programmes having lectured at the School of Information Sciences, Moi University Kenya, and since 1996 at the Department of Library and Information Studies University of Botswana where he has been instrumental in the design of archives and records management programmes. Prof. Mnjama is a well-known speaker and presenter in archives and records management forums in East and Southern Africa, and he has published extensively in the field of archives and records management in Africa. Prof. Mnjama has participated in several records management initiatives organized by the International Records Management Trust aimed at improving archives and records keeping practices in Africa.
  • James Lowry is founder and director of the Archival Technologies Lab, and Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, City University of New York. He is an Honorary Research Fellow and former co-director of the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies, where he taught following a ten year career in archives and records management. As a practitioner, he worked in Australia, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, including projects for international organisations such as the African Union and the International Criminal Court. Dr. Lowry has a PhD from University College London and a Masters in Information Management from Curtin University. His research is concerned with official records, data and power, particularly in colonial, post-colonial and diasporic contexts. Through the Displacements and Diasporas project, he has worked to foster international dialogue around displaced archives. In his work on open government and open data, he has introduced record-keeping principles and techniques into open government policy and data curation to help address information asymmetry. His interest in the history of archival thinking led to the formation of the Archival Discourses research network. He is also co-PI on the Refugee Rights in Records project. His recent publications include Displaced Archives, an edited volume published in 2017, and he is series editor of the Routledge Studies in Archives series.

Lecture Readings:

  • United Nations (1983) Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives and Debts (Read: “Preamble” on p. 2 + Part III (pp. 8-13))
  • Ellen Ndeshi Namhila (2004) "Filling the gaps in the archival record of the Namibian struggle for independence." IFLA Journal 30 (3): 224-230.
  • Ellen Ndeshi Namhila (2015) "Archives of Anti-Colonial Resistance and the Liberation Struggle (AACRLS): An Integrated Programme to Fill the Colonial Gaps in the Archival Record of Namibia." Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences: 168-178.
  • Nathan Mnjama (2016) “Migrated Archives: The African Perspectives.Journal of the South African Society of Archivists 48: 45-54.
  • Browse: ACARM (2017) Migrated Archives: ACARM Position Paper. Adopted at the ACARM Annual General Meeting, Mexico City.
  • Riley Linebaugh and James Lowry (2021) The archival colour line: race, records and post-colonial custody. Archives and Records 42(3): 284-303.
  • J.J. Ghaddar (Fall 2022) “Provenance in Place: Crafting the Vienna Convention for Global Decolonization and Archival Repatriation,” in James Lowry (ed.) Disputed Archival Heritage, Volume II (New York: Routledge).

Wednesday, December 7 @ 11:30am CDST / 1:30pm ADST: “Multiple Provenance, Indigenous Data Sovereignty & Archival Protocols,” a conversation with Dr. Vanessa (Assistant Professor of Sociology and Indigenous Studies, McMaster University) and Krystal Payne (University of Winnipeg, Kishaadigeh Collaborative Research Centre). Co-hosted with Dr. Amber Dean, Professor of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University.

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Abstract: This open classroom will examine a variety of principles-based guiding documents, drawing out how archives and archivists are being directly and indirectly tasked with changes to their practices in order to become more responsive and accountable to Indigenous peoples and communities. In particular, the question of how to move from awareness and education initiatives toward action and accountability measures will be brought up and explored. It brings these archival documents and debates into conversation with the project based out of McMaster University, "The Challenge of Reconciliation: What We Can Learn from the Stories of the Hamilton Mountain Sanatorium and the Mohawk Institute Residential School.” This project will intervene in narrow understandings of reconciliation by turning to the stories of the Hamilton Mountain Sanatorium and the Mohawk Institute Residential School. What can these stories teach us about possibilities for a more substantive reckoning with the many promises of reconciliation? The project involves a significant amount of archival research and engagement, including the development of a lay summary of existing archival records relating to the Mohawk Institute and the Mountain Sanatorium.


  • Vanessa Watts is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Indigenous Studies at McMaster University, where she also holds the Paul R. Macpherson Research Chair in Indigenous Studies. Her research examines Indigenist epistemological and ontological interventions on place-based, material knowledge production. Vanessa is particularly interested in Indigenous feminisms, sociology of knowledge, Indigenous governance, and other-than-human relations as forms of Indigenous ways of knowing. Dr. Watts was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her project that interrogates over a century of representations of Indigenous peoples in sociology and political science. It will contribute to new knowledge in the field of Indigenous studies through an inductively generated concept map of Indigenous understandings of social beings. Dr. Watts was nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction in Community Leadership and was awarded McMaster’s President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning in 2022. 
  • Krystal Payne is a settler archivist living on Treaty One Territory (Winnipeg, MB), who grew up on unceded territory covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship (Hillsdale, NB). After spending many years working as a community health educator in sexual and mental health with a harm reduction and trauma-informed approach, Krystal now studies and works with archival records as a project archivist and researcher with the Kishaadigeh Collaborative Research Centre (University of Winnipeg) and as an incoming PhD student at the University of Manitoba. In these roles she tries her best to practice relationship-based archival work in the spirit of collaboration while imagining the archival possibilities that come with centring people and communities.
  • Amber Dean is Professor of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her research focuses on public mourning, violence, and cultural memory, and contemplates what makes a life widely “grievable” in the context of contemporary, colonial Canada. She is also interested in how creative forms of cultural production (fiction, art, photography, film, performance) disrupt and reframe common-sense understandings of whose lives (and deaths) matter. Dr. Dean is the author of Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women: Settler Colonialism and the Difficulty of Inheritance, and co-editor of Remembering Air India: The Art of Public Mourning, with Chandrima Chakraborty and Angela Failler. With Susanne Luhmann and Jennifer L. Johnson, she also co-edited Feminist Praxis Revisited: Critical Reflections on University-Community Engagement. Dr. Dean was named McMaster’s University Scholar in 2021, an award that supports her community- and student-engaged project on the Hamilton 2SLGBTQ+ archives. 

Lecture Readings:


This open classroom series is inspired and shaped by the writings and practices of Rabab Abdulhadi, bell hooks, Eve Tuck, Sherene Razack and Sandy Grande.