Social Justice


Brilmyer, Gracen, and Michelle Caswell “Identifying & Dismantling White Supremacy in Archives: An Incomplete List of White Privileges in Archives and Action Items for Dismantling Them.” (2016).

  • This poster designed by Gracen Brilmyer was created based on content produced in Dr. Michelle Caswell's Archives, Records, and Memory class at UCLA, Fall 2016. It outlines myriad white privileges that exist within core archival principles and theory and provides actions for archival communities, practitioners and educators to dismantle them. 

Chou, Rose L., and Annie Pho, editors, Series on Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS.

  • This Litwin Books/Library Juice Press series "aims to collect and publish works from theoretical, practical and personal perspectives that critically engage issues of race, ethnicity, cultural diversity and equity in library and information science (LIS)." Two books have been published to date: Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science, edited by Gina Schlesselman-Tarango; and Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom, edited by Nicole A. Cooke and Miriam E. Sweeney.

Forthcoming in the series: Pushing the Margins: Women of Color and Intersectionality in LIS, edited by Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho. These books show promise for fostering critical conversations in the archival profession.

Gilliland, Anne, “Neutrality, social justice and the obligations of archival education and educators in the twenty-first century,” Archival Science 11, no. 3-4 (2011): 193-209.

  • This paper by Anne Gilliland "contemplates how archival neutrality and social justice concerns can surface within the context of archival education," articulating ways that archival educators can transform the profession through critical engagement with a social justice framework during the training and learning process. 

Jimerson, Randall C., “Archives for All: Professional Responsibility and Social Justice,” American Archivist,

  • Rand Jimerson’s article is a classic call for archivists to consider the ways in which their work, including day-to-day work, should be dedicated to social justice. Jimerson includes international and US examples of how archival materials can address issues of accountability, justice and diversity, and offers some specific examples of how archivists, both collecting and institutional, can apply social justice practices in both their practice and in relationship-building. Jimerson’s article is also notable for its works cited, which can direct readers to other book-length and case specific works on social justice and records.

Michaelis, Kathryn, and Nicole Milano, Social Justice Sampler. Society of American Archivists, (2017).

  • The "Sampler Series" from SAA publications provides collected chapters from SAA publications on a specific topic. Samplers are published electronically and are designed to provide an overview of a topic of interest to SAA members. The Social Justice Sampler includes chapters from Rand Jimerson's Archives Power: Memory, Accountability, and Social Justice; Chris Hurley's Political Pressure and the Archival Record; and Vern Harris' Archives and Justice: A South African Perspective. These three chapters, elucidated by an excellent introduction by the authors, are specifically brought together to address issues of professional responsibility and archives as "tools of accountability," arguing that archives and archivists hold positions that are frequently the nexus of social and political power. The goal is to ask readers to consider the implications of these ideas, and to encourage broader discussion of the topic. Though all three books were published well before the 2017 date of the Sampler, bringing together key chapters from three of the most persuasive writers in the early archival literature on Social Justice provides a broad frame of reference for current discussion, and inform contemporary consideration of the topic.

Office of Multicultural Affairs, University of Massachusetts Lowell, “Diversity and Social Justice: A Glossary of Working Definitions,”

  • This glossary provides a comprehensive list of terms related to diversity and social justice. The definitions provided are intended to convey the interpretation and use of these terms within the context of diversity and social justice. 

Punzalan, Ricardo L., and Michelle Caswell, “Critical Directions for Archival Approaches to Social Justice,” Library Information Quarterly, 86, no. 1, (2016): 25 – 42.

  • This article is a good starting-point for the ongoing discussion of social justice and its place in archival theory and practice. The authors provide an excellent discussion of definitions, including interesting observations about the difference between recognizing the power of social memory and the implications of actively using social justice in archival practice. The article then seeks to place a framework around discussions of social justice in archival practice. The resulting discussion is a deeply thought-provoking exploration of the impact of embracing the concepts of social justice within the archives, in particular topics such as access; the impact of digital access; and collecting and ownership of materials. The article is valuable to archivists in all stages of professional involvement, as well as to students and educators.