This week’s readings helped me have a better idea of how digital archive studies intersect with Global Modernism I strived to connect with in the class last week; I still need to work more how I can tightly connect these two, though.
The raison d’être of archives is, in part, to preserve and protect materials within, but the making of it inevitably betrays a loss that entails the process of selection on what to preserve and what to discard. Digital archives, however, have opened a space for those whose voices have been ignored, whose places have been insecure, and whose identities have not been recognized. Voss & Werner state that “the architecture of the archive and the sentinels who control access to its interiors suggest that the conservation and transmission of knowledge has been, at least historically, the prerogative of a few chosen agents, of a coterie of privileged insiders” (), which emphasizes the exclusive aspect of the traditional archives. They say that the technology archive “encourages us to reimagine its dimensions” so that “heteroglossic citations” can be included in archives as parts of them and have due attention. With the term, “rogue archives,” De Kosnik argues that the digital space, filled with archives created by individuals who are marginalized and often underappreciated in the central hegemonic discourse, enables the minority groups to “construct repositories that are accessible by all internet users, and can choose to preserve either vast quantities of information…or highly specific materials…that have been consistently excluded or ignored by traditional memory institutions” (2). By having a space to voice their opinions and to build a community with people of the same interest, they have the opportunity to empower themselves by decentralizing the existing hierarchy and by “insert[ing] into history” (17).
Global Modernism is also about shifting the prevailing, European-centered, perspective on Modernism to reposition it as a part of the global phenomena. The scholars of GM argue that modernism developed in various locations across the globe in response to the modernity, but there is a time difference when different places experienced modernity, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that modernisms in other locals are derivative of Western modernism. Global Modernists on Modernism: An Anthology states that “Modernism has always been global, and this global disposition inextricable from the radically unequal power relations that characterize modernity itself.” Just like Voss, Werner, and De Kosnik emphasize the importance of the digital archives that can de/reconstruct the hierarchy, GM is also focusing on repositioning modernist studies in the larger, global context to include so far neglected and underestimated local modernisms.