Pushing Disciplinary Boundaries Gives Society a Voice

How do we capture the essence of the past and convey its reality accurately while reaching a multitude of audiences from diverse levels of society all at the same time? And why do we care to do this?  Manoff explains to us why is it so important to “re-imagine the boundaries of what we have come to believe are disciplines and to have the courage to rethink them,” while Halberstam shows us how we act upon this by keeping in mind our extremely wide-ranging cultural perspective and scholarly audience.

“What is considered a legitimate contribution to the archive changes over time and is a function of the transformations of the disciplines and the shifting boundaries among them.”

After reading more about the idea of archiving I realize it is important to keep in mind that who we are as individuals affects what we find significant and worthwhile to document. As times change so do our perceptions and interpretations of what is important and meaningful enough for us to archive.  This is why the question of legitimate archiving is so difficult to answer.

In the text it says we should archive “measurable material.”  The first thing I thought after reading this was who is measuring it and who has the power to decide if it counts or not and if it measures up to be “legitimate enough?”  This is why it is so important to push the boundaries of archiving.  Halberstam believes that although some may not find “silly” archiving legitimate it is essential in reaching our broad scholarly audience.  Using different “levels of silliness” assists in engaging our forever changing society and encourages them to feel more comfortable voicing opinions and building on past archives.

Today’s technology also assists us in moving beyond disciplinary and institutional boundaries because it allows non-commercial material to be archived and made public; for example, our course blog or our Facebook and twitter pages.  By pushing the boundaries we are giving our thoughts and ideas a voice and continually archiving our addition to the past and change for the future.



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