This paper discusses a proposal to develop a Critical Theory Digital Archive at UC Irvine, the first public digital archive representing the field of critical theory and the scholarly papers of the world’s leading critical theorists. As a transformative epistemic infrastructure, The CTDA will reconfigure the act of publishing and the act of archiving as one hybrid procedure. Our era of digital technology—an era of open access, multi-media, and infinite reproducibility—challenges the nature, authority, and future of archives in general.
Re-imaging a critical theory archive as a digital entity requires examining what critical theorists themselves say about information technologies, digital scholarship, and open access dissemination. One notorious challenge is Jacques Derrida’s statements concerning the technical reproduction of his own papers housed at UC Irvine and IMEC in France. Although Derrida’s reservations about digital technologies perhaps belong to the particular circumstances of his own archives, these reservations also represent a theoretical/practical resistance that confronts any digital archive. This prompts three questions:
1.Trust, Copy-Left, and the Digital Archive Contract: following the current collapse of the global capitalist contract, the issuing of paperless digital monetary documents, and the struggles of the open access movement, what is the nature of trust, intellectual collaboration, and institutional anchoring in our era of Digital Promises?
2.Technics of Digital Inscription: if our era of technics tends to treat literary texts as mere information, yet the peculiar materiality of literary inscription resists universal abstraction, what impact does technical reproduction have on literary archives?
3.Digital Haptology and the Tele-Archive: if the human hand and eye both stand outside of as well as determine the Digital Experience, and if reading and writing have always been the virtual experience par excellence, in what manner should scholarly collaborators keep or not “keep in touch” with each other, their research, and academic institutions?
|Keywords:||The Critical Theory Digital Archive, Critical Theory, Digital Archives|
Lecturer, Humanities, The University of California, Irvine, California, USA
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