Article

Negotiating Community Literacy Practice: Public Memory Work and the Boston Marathon Bombing Digital Archive

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Abstract

This study examines Our Marathon <. http://marathon.neu.edu>, which is a digital historiography website created in response to the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15th, 2013. As a participatory archive, Our Marathon is an example of community literacy practice. I explore the construction of community through the public memory work of the archive by examining two collections of archival artifacts: public submissions and the Boston City Archives content. This examination reveals the complexity of community construction, but also the influence of Our Marathon as a material support for the work of public memory. Highlighting the archive's negotiation between an intimate space for community participation in the wake of trauma, and its role as an open, digital archive with global reach, I demonstrate that tensions of this negotiation are useful to highlight the power of the archive as a location of public memory construction, and can suggest ways Our Marathon and other digital historiographic projects can better foster community participation and formation through the reflexive collection, preservation, and display of archival content.

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... Historically, activist communities have frequently adopted digital technologies to construct archives and democratise cultural memory practices, with researchers situating many of these projects within the field of community heritage or cultural memory (Allard and Ferris, 2014;Petro, 2015;Smith, 2016;Palmer-Mehta, 2018;Poell and van Dijck, 2018;Smit, Heinrich and Broersma, 2018;Correa et al., 2019;Chidgey, 2020;Smit, 2020). Archives are created using unconventional sources and methods -these include Twitter hashtags (Jules, Summers and Mitchell, Jr., 2018); Facebook groups and pages (Yaqub, 2016;Smit, Heinrich and Broersma, 2018;Gibbons, 2019); media articles (Palmer-Mehta, 2018); YouTube videos (Kølvraa and Stage, 2016), with some theorists asserting that even the internet itself can be understood as an archive of sorts (Block, 2001). ...
... The use of digital platforms to create archives is also a focus of those researching community-led archives (Caswell and Mallick, 2014;Caswell, Cifor and Ramirez, 2016;Ferris and Allard, 2016;Mutibwa, 2016;Smith, 2016;Saber and Long, 2017;Cowan and Rault, 2018;Moore, 2020;Popple, Prescott and Mutibwa, 2020). In the context of work undertaken by the South Asian American Digital Archive, Caswell and Mallick use the term "digital participatory microhistory project" to describe any programmatic activity that uses Internet based technologies to encourage community members to directly create short records for inclusion in an archives. ...
Thesis
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This qualitative study examines the production of cultural memory within current or recently active UK-based DIY music spaces. Utilising a critical archival theoretical framework, the thesis builds upon previous work which deconstructs subcultural historiography and archiving, identifying the reproduction of whiteness, masculinity, and affluence in heritage projects. By focusing on current or recently active communities, the study engages with archives and histories before they are deposited and/or formed, acknowledging the role of labour in and the construction of narratives through archival work. My analysis therefore moves discussions about subcultural archives beyond examination of sources and into a discipline which explores archiving as practice and labour, archives as organisations, as well as the archive as concept. The resulting analysis complicates the positioning of punk and DIY music communities as ahistorical. I surface underpinning information infrastructures and informal archival actions which enable community building and connection across generations through preservation and circulation of memory. Exploration of the intersection of socioeconomic circumstances and archival traces identifies how ongoing experiences of austerity, precarity and lack of resource negatively affect the capacity to create and maintain archival projects or sources. The contemporary temporal focus of the study enables an extended consideration of the born digital traces and web heritage of DIY music communities, which is particularly timely given the loss of data stored on widely-used digital platforms such as Myspace Music and the deletion of information produced by queer communities caused by corporate moderation processes and algorithms.
... The need for information is the cause of every organization competing to carry out information management by utilizing technology (Mitic et al., 2017;Altinay et al., 2016;Azma et al., 2012). At the village office, archives are very necessary (Smith, 2016). Village administration includes general administration, population administration, financial administration, development administration, and BPD administration. ...
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This article seeks to extend the concept of “post-critical composition” through an analysis of two MEmorials, the post-critical genre Gregory Ulmer [Ulmer, Gregory L. (2005). Electronic monuments. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press] has been exploring for 15 years. I resist the tendency on the part of some post-critical theorists to reject the role of genres and models in favor of perpetual re-invention of genres and pedagogies with each composition. Through a combination of product analysis and process reflection, this article documents the necessary but flexible role the genre of MEmorial played in a student composition, “MEmorial for Afghanistan,” and in my own composition, “Strangers in Strange Lands: A MEmorial for the Lost Boys of Sudan*.” This essay is an extension of not only post-critical composition but also online memorialization, described by National Public Radio [National Public Radio. (2007, May 28). Online memorials to the war dead. Day to day. Retrieved June 5, 2007, from http://www.npr.org] as a “modern phenomenon” and identified by Joyce Walker [Walker, Joyce. (2007). Narratives in the database: Memorializing September 11th online. Computers and Composition 24(2), 121–153] as a potentially powerful means of encouraging “cyborg citizens.”
Book
Though we live in a time when memory seems to be losing its hold on communities, memory remains central to personal, communal, and national identities. And although popular and public discourses from speeches to films invite a shared sense of the past, official sites of memory such as memorials, museums, and battlefields embody unique rhetorical principles. Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials is a sustained and rigorous consideration of the intersections of memory, place, and rhetoric. From the mnemonic systems inscribed upon ancient architecture to the roadside accident memorials that line America's highways, memory and place have always been deeply interconnected. This book investigates the intersections of memory and place through nine original essays written by leading memory studies scholars from the fields of rhetoric, media studies, organizational communication, history, performance studies, and English. The essays address, among other subjects, the rhetorical strategies of those vying for competing visions of a 9/11 memorial at New York City's Ground Zero; rhetorics of resistance embedded in the plans for an expansion of the National Civil Rights Museum; representations of nuclear energy-both as power source and weapon-in Cold War and post-Cold War museums; and tours and tourism as acts of performance. By focusing on "official" places of memory, the collection causes readers to reflect on how nations and local communities remember history and on how some voices and views are legitimated and others are minimized or erased. © 2010 by The University of Alabama Press. All rights reserved.
Contemporary U.S. memorial as exemplars of rhetoric's materiality
  • Carole Blair
Blair, Carole. (1999). Contemporary U.S. memorial as exemplars of rhetoric's materiality. In Jack Selzer, & Sharon Crowley (Eds.), Rhetorical bodies (pp. 16-57). Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.
Finishing my first Boston marathon in 76 days, 12 hours, and 55 minutes. Our marathon
  • David Bloome
Bloome, David. (2013). Five ways to read a curated archive of digital literacy narratives. In H. Lewis Ulman, Scott L. DeWitt, & Cynthia L. Selfe (Eds.), Stories that speak to us: Exhibits from the digital archive of literacy narratives. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press. briankeaney. (2013). Finishing my first Boston marathon in 76 days, 12 hours, and 55 minutes. Our marathon. Retrieved from http://www/marathon.neu.edu/items/show/12387
Re-mediating vernacular creativity: Digital storytelling
  • Jean Burgess
Burgess, Jean. (2006 February). Re-mediating vernacular creativity: Digital storytelling. In Paper presented at First Person: International Digital Storytelling Conference. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/3776/1/3376.pdf Card from child in Texas. (2013). Our marathon. Retrieved from http://marathon.neu.edu/items/show/12136
A grounded theory approach for studying writing and literacy
  • Kerrie Farkas
  • Christina Haas
Farkas, Kerrie, & Haas, Christina. (2012). A grounded theory approach for studying writing and literacy. In K. M. Powell, & P. Takayoshi (Eds.), Practising research in writing studies (pp. 81-95). New York, NY: Hampton Press.
The.txtual condition
  • Matthew G Kirschenbaum
Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. (2014). The.txtual condition. In N. Katherine Hayles, & Jessica Pressman (Eds.), Comparative textual media: Transforming the humanities in the postprint era (pp. 53-70). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Number injured in marathon bombing revised downward to 264. The Boston Globe
  • Deborah Kotz
Kotz, Deborah. (2013, April 24). Number injured in marathon bombing revised downward to 264. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from https://www. bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/04/23/number-injured-marathon-bombing-revised-downward/NRpaz5mmvGquP7
Stories that speak to us: Exhibits from the digital archive of literacy narratives
  • Cynthia L Selfe
  • Consortium
Selfe, Cynthia L., & the DALN Consortium. (2013). Narrative theory and stories that speak to us. In H. Lewis Ulman, Scott L. DeWitt, & Cynthia L. Selfe (Eds.), Stories that speak to us: Exhibits from the digital archive of literacy narratives. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press. sgechijian. (n.d.). Sperrys: Lost & found. Our marathon. Retrieved from http://marathon.neu.edu/items/show/9597
Stories that speak to us: Exhibits from the digital archive of literacy narratives
  • H Ulman
  • Lewis
Ulman, H. Lewis. (2013). A brief introduction to the digital archive of literacy narratives (DALN). In H. Lewis Ulman, Scott L. DeWitt, & Cynthia L. Selfe (Eds.), Stories that speak to us: Exhibits from the digital archive of literacy narratives. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press.