Harvard Library Building Archival Collection on Charlie Hebdo Attacks

jesuischarlie_736x337The Harvard Library is inviting submissions to a new physical and digital archival collection of materials related to the January attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the ensuing worldwide debate on freedom of expression and religion. The curators of the collection hope to “document a peculiar moment in the early twenty-first century, when the word ‘Charlie’ all of a sudden took on tragic significance, and became charged with conflicting emotions, opinions, and agendas.”

The founders of the Charlie Archive include library and teaching faculty from Harvard University, as well as a librarian from Université Paris 8 who recently completed an archival fellowship at the Harvard Library. On the project website, organizers say they are not yet sure what shape the collection will ultimately take but they especially hope to preserve “ephemeral materials that might not otherwise be captured in a library collection but are crucial to making sense of these events and conversations.” The archive is currently in the building phase, but “future developments may include curating virtual or real exhibitions, connecting with other archives, or documenting the evolution of the debate on political and religious satire or on other related topics.”

The project website includes a submission form for any member of the public who has something that may be of interest to the Charlie Archive. Organizers hope to collect a wide range of physical and digital materials that could include:

Articles, art, badges, banners, blogs, books, bulletins, cartoons, comments, debates, drawings, essays, fiction, films, flyers, graffiti, information sheets, leaflets, magazines, manuscripts, minutes of meetings, newsletters, newspapers, objects, oral history narratives, pamphlets, photographs, podcasts, poems, posters, songs, texts, TV programs, tweets, or websites.

Check out the project website here! Hopefully the digital artifacts will be organized and made available online as the collection is built.

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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.