CFP: Excavated Footage, US Archives, and Alternative Historiography (March 2021)

Han Sang Kim's picture

Call for Papers


Excavated Footage, US Archives, and Alternative Historiography


Virtual Workshop & Edited Volumes

Workshop Dates: March 11-12, 2021 EST / March 12-13 KST

Organized by Mark J. Williams (Dartmouth College) and Han Sang Kim (Ajou University)


Application deadline: November 15, 2020 EST


The past decade has seen emerging scholarships in the fields of history, media studies, qualitative social studies, and area studies that endeavor new approaches to historiography by excavating, collecting, and analyzing film and film footage from archives. However, the very concern over how a new type of historiography will be made possible by archival film footage has rarely been comprehensively discussed among the involved scholars from diverse geographical and disciplinary backgrounds. Some would understand those camera images as containers of indexical information that can play a supplementary role to textual data in positivist historiography, others may try to find certain shared characteristics of specific genres in those creative products, such as newsreels, propaganda features, and documentaries, to build historiography of a self-contained art form, and another would stand somewhere in between, seeking both to identify the audiovisual mediums peculiar capacity to reach for reality and to put it within a broader context. This collaborative project aims to set the stage for a first step to the comprehensive discussion among film & media scholars, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and area studies scholars, about their thoughts and critiques to generate alternative historiography through excavated film footage.


Under this objective, we have a specific concern that will give concreteness to our rather theoretical, initial concern: the locus of those excavated footage materials, namely US archives. The aforementioned audiovisual-archival turn in recent scholarships has been considerably indebted to the vast collections of US archives, as well as those archives high accessibility. The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), among others, has been visited by a considerably large number of researchers from various geographical and disciplinary backgrounds and has offered a great number of moving image materials in the public domain. This generosity, although extremely helpful in the development of all the involved foreign and local academia, has constituted a specific type of episteme in which the positionality of US archives plays a crucial role, namely, the hierarchy in global archival knowledge regimes. This collaborative project will involve scholars who have experience with US archives, including not only NARA but also many other institutes and university libraries, to share their thoughts about this knowledge regime and seek for an alternative, critical, and/or reflexive historiographical approach to it.


We invite chapter proposals for an edited volume that will be published in both English and Korean, entitled Excavated Footage, US Archives, and Alternative Historiography, edited by Mark J. Williams and Han Sang Kim. Scholars whose proposals have been selected will be requested to join a two-half-a-day virtual workshop via Zoom on March 11 and 12, 2021 EST (March 12 and 13 KST) and give presentations on their chapters. We welcome chapter proposals from any geographical and disciplinary backgrounds and scholars at any stage of their academic career are encouraged to participate. The volume will be published by a major US or British publisher in the course of 2022, and another volume with full translations in Korean will be published by a renowned academic publisher in South Korea in the same year.


Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Post/colonial & non-Western Cold War historiography and archival films: theoretical aspects
  • US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and its film materials
  • US public archives, university libraries, and their film materials
  • USIA/S, CIA, Asia Foundation, US Armed Forces, etc., and their film materials
  • Non-US archives & libraries and their collecting of US film materials
  • Films found from US archives and the historiography of non-US societies
  • Films found from US archives and their public reception in non-US societies
  • Digitization of archival films and the new environments for alternative historiography
  • Data mining, machine learning, machine vision, and the global knowledge regime


All proposals must include an abstract of approximately 250-300 words plus a selected bibliography, and a short biographical sketch of the author’s research interest and recent publications. Please email your proposal to by November 15, 2020 EST.