“The pandemic will end not with a declaration, but with a long, protracted exhalation… Grief will turn into trauma. And a nation that has begun to return to normal will have to decide whether to remember that normal led to this.”
— Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic
Decisions made now by scholars, archivists, librarians and community organizers, acting as individuals and as representatives of their institutions and collectives, will shape our cultural memory of the pandemic—and our capacity for speculative thinking, beyond it. What roles must libraries and archives—community-based, federal and academic—play in times of national trauma and transition? Can they partner more effectively with scholars and publics, even (or especially) in the middle of a mess? And how do we square the project of cultural memory—the job of liberal arts and memory institutions now—with the challenges that face it: inevitable losses, misinterpretations, and gaps; politically and personally motivated refusals to remember; and our own embeddedness in the contested commemorative landscapes of our campuses and towns?
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