The Original Order of Things:
An AAO Monthly Newsletter
December 2021, Volume 1, Issue 2
Welcome to the second issue of The Original Order of Things. This month’s newsletter features a couple of important updates on upcoming conferences, an overview of PDC activities from this last month, and a spotlight on the Muslim’s in Canada Archive (MiCA) submitted by Moska Rokay.
It has been quite the year, now capped off with another round of COVID-related closures and restrictions. From the editors of The Original Order of Things and the entire Communications and Advocacy Committee, we hope you have a safe and restful holiday season. 2021 did not provide us with the return to normalcy that we all wanted - lets hope 2022 is better!
- Tys Klumpenhouwer and MacKenzie Gott, Editors.
a. Holiday Office Closure
A quick reminder that the AAO office will be closed for the holidays from December 23, 2021 to January 3, 2022 inclusive, reopening on January 4.
b. Professional Development Committee Activities
c. "Giving Tuesday" was November 30, 2021
John Yolkowski, Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee, provides an update on recent events and workshops.
December 13, 2021 was the first Archival Conversation of the 2021-2022 programming year. For those of you who have never attended one before, these more informal learning opportunities offer a chance for archivists and archives workers to come together, discuss, and learn from each other. This session, “Publishing with Off the Record and Archivaria” was led by Michael Friesen and Dr. Fiorella Foscarini, the respective editors of those publications. They encouraged those of us who are new to the world of publishing to get our feet wet and try it out! The conversation was especially helpful to those of us who, like me, may feel we are able to string a few words together, but are not sure the end result is particularly coherent or interesting! Many thanks to Dr. Sarah Glassford, at the University of Windsor, for organizing and leading the event!Keep your eye out in the new year for more professional development opportunities, which will be posted on the AAO’s events page, including more Archival Conversations. In the meantime, if you are thinking about what to do in the winter, head over and sign up for our next workshop, RAD for Beginners with Paul Leatherdale which will take place on February 10, 2022. Registration is now open! If we had to describe the workshop in one word…I am sure it would be, in the hipster vernacular of the 1980s and 90s, RADical!
A big ‘THANK YOU’ from the AAO Board for all those who generously donated to the AAO and other organizations on Giving Tuesday!
For those who missed the email announcement, on December 15, the Conference Planning Committee made the decision to move the 2022 Annual Conference online. The Conference will still run from May 25 - 27, 2022 and the conference theme - somehow even more prescient now - remains the same: “These Are Unprecedented Times: How Archives and Archivists Changed, Struggled and Thrived Through Challenging Periods.”
Moska Rokay, Archivist at the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA) provides an overview of the work being done by the community and archivists to build their collections.
The Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA)
Publicly launched in 2020, the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA) was created as a purposeful and concerted effort to combat Islamophobia as well as fill a fundamental gap in the archival landscape, particularly among Canadian religious archives. While MiCA currently exists within the University of Toronto Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS), it aims to be a community driven, participatory archives for/by Canadian Muslim communities.
In 2018, the IIS sat down with a number of Canadian Muslim organizations, Muslim and Islamic Studies scholars, and community leaders to discuss urgent needs determined by Canadian Muslims. During the consultation, one of the critical gaps identified was the desire for a platform that could talk back to skewed, Islamophobic narratives about Canadian Muslims that often centered on violence, extremism, terrorism, and so-called “barbaric cultural practices”. Canadian Muslims wanted a place where they could highlight their “Muslimness” and preserve their legacies, but with one caveat: they wanted to tell their own stories, in their own words, and also contribute to the histories of Canadian Muslims. These goals, requirements, and desires culminated in the formation of an archives in 2019.
Since then, MiCA has gone through a number of shifts and tweaks. First and foremost, it had to contend with the unprecedented reality of conducting community outreach for records acquisition and fundraising during a global pandemic. Precisely for this reason, the MiCA team focused heavily in 2020 and early 2021 on virtual webinars and events that would put MiCA on the radar of Canadian Muslim communities. Behind the scenes, of course, a plethora of policies and procedures were crafted in order to create the foundations of the community archives. Following the introductory webinars, from summer 2021 to spring 2022, MiCA planned, executed, and will continue to implement its Community Collaborations Learning Series. This outreach effort aims to learn from existing community archives/public history/memory-creation – or “archives-adjacent” – initiative. In MiCA’s quest for community-driven policies and practice, it made sense to see what others were doing to fulfill this goal in their own communities. The lessons learned so far and the relationships with these initiatives have certainly only benefitted MiCA’s overall aforementioned goals.
Aside from community outreach and policies and procedures, MiCA spent 2021 acquiring a few donations of records. Since spring of 2021, a number of enthusiastic Canadian Muslim individuals have graciously donated their records to MiCA. Naturally, the next hurdle for this small but mighty team was (and still is!) figuring out how to process physical records during a raging pandemic while ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. During the fall and winter of 2021, once a week, MiCA’s archivist, Moska Rokay, and her trusty Senior Fellow, Emily Moran, worked tirelessly to process MiCA’s first ever accession. As for the future, MiCA is also currently working on figuring out its digital infrastructure. A digital platform for archival descriptions, digital collections, and storytelling through exhibits will be crucial to its many goals.
To support MiCA, please check out the IIS website: Website Link