Accepted Paper:

Seeing Past the Settler Gaze: An Introduction to Objects and Objectivity in the Post-Colonial Archive  


Mona Holmlund (Dalhousie University)
Cheryl Avery (University of Saskatchewan)

Paper short abstract:

As co-convenors, Archivist Cheryl Avery and Art Historian Dr. Mona Holmlund will introduce the themes of the panel, using case studies from the University of Saskatchewan Archives.

Paper long abstract:

The Saskatchewan context of marginalization, both within the Canadian national narrative, and of the province’s Indigenous population in particular, provides the backdrop to a discussion of how material culture is often over-looked in traditional archival, historical and art historical practices. Avery and Holmlund will present examples of Indigenous presence hidden in western record management, archival practices and art history. Avery will consider ways in which archival records may ‘slip through the cracks’ of traditional appraisal and selection, demonstrating how unexpected discoveries might also affect context and how material is weighed as evidence. Holmlund uses the specific example of the reclamation of mid-20thC scrapbooks to reveal new aspects of visual culture from a region, and a people, conventionally excluded from Western art histories. This presentation suggests that once a researcher has been able to ’see past the settler gaze’ that inflects colonial archives, the task then becomes one of ‘reading between the lines’ both to find the material sources that may be illuminating and to understand what they might be able to tell us.

Panel P017
Seeing Past the Settler Gaze: Objects and Objectivity in the Post-Colonial Archive