Contact person:
Malin Thor Tureby
  • Swedish Research Council
Responsible at MaU:
Malin Thor Tureby
Project members at MaU:
  • Henry Greenspan (the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor)
  • Stephen Naron (Director of the Fortunoff Video Archive
  • Yale University)
  • Zoë Waxman (the University of Oxford)
Time frame:
01 January 2022 - 31 December 2025
Research subject:

Project description

This project aims to explain how ethical problems become embedded in collections that pertain to Holocaust survivors through processes of archivization, organization and digitization. In addition, it aims to present suggestions for how these ethical problems can be addressed by reconceptualizing digitization as transformation. Through preliminary studies, the project team has identified two opposing strategies employed by archives that both create unique ethical dilemmas for future uses of material that has been labelled ‘vulnerable’.

The first strategy—the protection of ‘vulnerable’ collections—prevents researchers from accessing the material and fails to include the collections’ participants from definitions of how and why they are vulnerable. The second strategy rapid and unreflexive digitization— serves to reinforce stereotypical representations of the archival subjects. These strategies, the discourses that have affected them and the ethical dilemmas they create will be examined through using different collections from and about Holocaust survivors.

How do ethical problems become embedded in the collection and digitization of ‘vulnerable’ material in archives? How do cultural heritage actors negotiate discourses on digitalization in relation to questions of ethics? How can we bridge the gap between policies on digitalization and institutional practice surrounding ‘vulnerable’ collections?