“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, commencement speech to Bryn Mawr in 1986
I spoke at a records management conference last week, and joked that it was the first conference I’d been to in ages where no-one had quoted Derrida. As with a lot of humour, underneath there is an uncomfortable truth. Our uncomfortable truth is that the archival professional was built on, and continues to represent dominant, oppressive systems.
The great news is that we can do something about it. One way we can enact change immediately is in who we choose to cite, or give voice to. In our papers, our talks, our blogs. We also nudge the revolution along every time we buy a book or watch a movie or a play written by someone who isn’t a cisgendered pale male .
Sarah Ahmed has written extensively about her citation policy. She states “Citation is feminist memory. Citation is how we acknowledge our debt to those who came before; those who helped us find our way when the way was obscured because we deviated from the paths we were told to follow” (Ahmed, 2017).
Helene Cixous is a post-structuralist, feminist, and contemporary of Derrida’s. Since I discovered her, every time I think about Derrida, I now also think about Cixous.
Its that easy.
Oh, and how have I chiselled this into the February #GLAMblogclub theme? Its time to stop watching, and start acting.
Ahmed, S. 2017 Living a Feminist Life. Duke University Press. Durham and London.