Distinguished Lecture

33rd Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture | 21 Sept 2023

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

21 September 2023  |  3:30-5:00 pm Lecture  ::  5:00-5:45 pm Reception to follow (Check for local time here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/)

HYBRID: in-person (iHotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. 1st St., Champaign, IL; Heritage Hall 2) AND online


TALK AND CONVERSATION on research on decolonizing archives

19 September 2023 | 10:00-10:50 am <flyer>
School of Information Sciences, 501 E Daniel St, Champaign; Room 126. No registration needed.

iPRES 2023 Conference 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.

Click HERE for more information on the Mortenson Center bursaries to attend iPRES 2023.

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.

2023 is also the 75th anniversaries of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.


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.

Postcard (front/back) | Flyer for both events (png)


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.


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. [Personal webpage]

Partnering with iPRES 2023

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs is proud to partner with iPRES 2023 to sponsor one of its keynote speakers and provide bursaries for attendance at the conference.  See more details on its webpage.

About iPRES 2023
iPRES is the premier and longest-running conference series on digital preservation. Since 2004, annual iPRES conferences have been hosted around the globe on four continents. Celebrate the 19th conference at iPRES 2023 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois USA from 19–22 September 2023. September 19 through the 22! In addition to the conference, you won’t want to miss out on the exciting Chicago Site Visits on Saturday, September 23, where you’ll get to experience the city’s vibrant culture and community.

The conference brings together information scientists, students, researchers, archivists, librarians, service providers, software developers and experts from many different sectors and domains to share emerging and cutting-edge insights in a wide variety of topics in digital preservation from strategy to implementation, and from international and local initiatives. Year on year the debate and research profiled at iPRES have moved digital preservation from a technology driven niche specialism of experts to a global challenge with the community to match.

iPRES Hosts
iPRES 2023 is hosted by the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC). Since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. UIUC is committed to actively participating in the digital preservation community through research,
public service, and librarianship.



Past Lectures

Arcs of the Rainbow:
The Heritage of Knowledge and Contemporary Life

Edwin Thumboo
October 29, 1998