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33rd Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

33rd Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture, with Dr. Ricardo L. Punzalan

Event Type
Center for Global Studies | Mortenson Center for International Library Programs | School of Information Sciences | University of Illinois Library Urbana-Champaign
iHotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. 1st St., Champaign, IL. Room: Heritage Halll 2
wifi event
Sep 21, 2023   3:30 - 5:00 pm  
Dr. Ricardo Punzalan
Clara Chu
Originating Calendar
Mortenson Center for International Library Programs

"Reciprocity, Reparative Actions, and Decolonial Work,”  by Dr. Ricardo L. Punzalan, University of Michigan

This year’s Lecture is also one of the keynote presentations at iPRES 2023 (The 19th International Conference on Digital Preservation), September 19-22, 2023.

Abstract:  Reckoning with the colonial complicity and legacy of institutions requires unpacking the promises and challenges of decolonial work. We must also take care to clarify the context of digital repatriation as reciprocal and reparative action. The Lecture will explore these issues as they relate to cultural collections, through a series of interrelated questions: What constitutes archival decolonization and how does it actually reflect Indigenous epistemologies? How do related concepts of reciprocity, repatriation, and reparation address decolonial actions? And, finally, how can decolonial, reciprocal, and reparative actions inform (and be informed by) digital preservation practices and infrastructures? In considering these questions, I examine the effort to develop a set of culturally-responsive and historically-minded decolonial approaches to Philippine collections at the University of Michigan. The case of “decolonizing” U.S. Philippine materials demands navigating our stewardship responsibilities to former, and current, occupied territories and the larger international Indigenous communities. We can transform our digital work to enact reparative actions that connect collections with communities that have been long separated by colonization.

Biography: Dr. Ricardo L. Punzalan, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, is a scholar of archives and digital curation. He studies community access and use of anthropological data in archives, as well as the digitization of ethnographic records held in libraries, archives, and museums. His research has established and shaped practices of virtual reunification and digital repatriation of cultural heritage collections. To do this work, he designs and carries out community-based, participatory research projects, which incorporate the perspectives of cultural heritage stakeholders beyond academic researchers. His scholarship has brought to the fore the critical challenges faced by underserved and Indigenous communities and has created dialogs between communities and cultural institutions. He co-directs ReConnect/ReCollect: Reparative Connections to Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan, a project that develops the framework for, and the practice of, reparative work for Philippine collections acquired by the university during the US colonial period. He is currently co-chair of the Archival Repatriation Committee of the Society of American Archivists and on the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. He was recently inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

Learn more at:

CO-SPONSORED BY: Center for Global Studies through support from the US Department of Education’s Title VI NRC Program* | Mortenson Center for International Library Programs | School of Information Sciences | University of Illinois Library Urbana-Champaign
*This event was supported in part by grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI grant program. The content of this event does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, nor an endorsement by the Federal Government.


The Lecture celebrates Libraries for Peace (L4P) Day, in observation of International Day of Peace with the world community. The theme for the International Day of Peace in 2023 is “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals”. Join the UN to foster peace by advancing the #GlobalGoals.

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