Power, Politics, Possibilities Thoughts Toward Creating a Black Digital Oral History Archive


  • Annette Henry University of British Columbia




Great dissonances and inequities can be created by power relationships and cultural misunderstandings. In this essay, in an attempt to preempt problems that stem from a lack of attention to questions of equity, I consider the possible pitfalls of a partnership with a Black community organization in anticipation of a project: The co-creation of a digital Black oral history archive. Political, cultural, and ethical issues that undergird equity are raised, such as researcher-insider positionality, trust, custodianship of others’ materials, representation of participants’ language varieties and voice, the use of technology, and the politics of housing a Black community archive at the University of British Columbia.

Author Biography

Annette Henry, University of British Columbia

Annette Henry holds the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. She is a professor in the department of Language and Literacy Education and cross-appointed to the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC. Her scholarship examines race, class, language, gender and culture in socio-cultural contexts of teaching and learning in the lives of Black students, and teachers, Black teachers’ practice in Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean and Black oral histories. She also writes about feminisms and conceptual and methodological research especially in culture-specific contexts.   




How to Cite

Henry, A. (2018). Power, Politics, Possibilities Thoughts Toward Creating a Black Digital Oral History Archive. Language and Literacy, 20(3), 89–99. https://doi.org/10.20360/langandlit29411