Permission to feel: Refocusing provenance on emotions using the photographs of the Dave White family fonds
Min, Seon Young
MetadataShow full item record
The study of emotions has attracted the interest of archivists in the last decade. It has involved discussion of the influence of the emotions of archivists on all aspects of their work. This thesis suggests that archivists give greater attention to emotions as part of the record’s provenance. Provenance is information about the record’s history from its initial inscription through to its placement, description, preservation, and use in archives. Including emotions as part of the record’s provenance can demonstrate the way emotions influence that history. I call this emotions provenance. Traditional archival thinking and practice attempted to silence the emotional aspects of the archivist’s work because of its subjective nature. However, the study of emotions provenance recognizes emotions as an inevitable powerful human experience that influences our mind, body, and behaviour, ultimately shaping the archivist’s understanding of and actions with records, and thus their provenance. The thesis opens with discussion of the call for greater attention to the study of emotions in psychology, history, and archival studies. It then focuses on ways archivists can include emotions provenance in archival descriptions using the early twentieth-century White family photographs at the Archives and Library of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. This is based in part on reflection on my own emotional experiences with and historical analysis of these photographs during my internship at the Archives. The thesis maintains that including the archivist’s emotional affect as part of the description of the record’s provenance recognizes the archivist’s role in shaping the record’s history and meaning. Examining emotions provenance helps confirm the archivist’s identity as a co-creator of records whose emotions, among other influences, ultimately also shape historical knowledge and its societal impact.