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Cultural Biases in Archival Collections. Elizabeth ramsey 802 theoretical foundations of service: diagnosis and customization Learning seminar. Cultural Biases in Archival Collections. The Fallibility of Archival Collections. The Illusion of Neutrality.

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Cultural biases in archival collections

Cultural Biasesin Archival Collections

Elizabeth ramsey

802 theoretical foundations of service: diagnosis and customization

Learning seminar

Cultural biases in archival collections1
Cultural Biases in Archival Collections

The Fallibilityof Archival Collections

The illusion of neutrality
The Illusion of Neutrality

In 1970 “radical historian” Howard Zinn told an audience of archivists,

The existence, preservation, and availability of archives, documents, records in our society are very much determined by the distribution of wealth and power… biased towards the important and powerful people of the society, tending to ignore the impotent and obscure.”

The wielding of power or
The Wielding of Power or…

…“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”

Control over social (collective) memory

Control over preservation and security of records

Role as interpreter and mediator between records and users

Efforts at diversity
Efforts at Diversity

“The relevance of archives to society and the completeness of the documentary record hinge in part on the professions success in ensuring that its members and the holdings that they manage reflect the diversity of society as a whole”

  • Issue Statement from

  • SAA President January 2007

Intercultural competence
Intercultural Competence

Dr. Milton Bennett (among many other researchers) asserts that InterculturalCompetence is:

Measurable:Intercultural DevelopmentInventory

Teachable/Achievable:Developmental Model ofIntercultural Sensitivity




The ethnorelative stages are characterized by a positive mindset about cultural difference. These stages are indicative of a person who will tend to make more inclusive decisions and actively seek to build a diverse workforce and an inclusive work environment…

Human rights and social justice
Human Rights and Social Justice

Nazi war criminals in Canada

Tuskegee syphilis study

South African State at the end of apartheid