Back to Program: April 25 | April 26 | April 27 | Pre-recorded Sessions

"General lack of representation and accessibility": Symbolic Annihilation & Disabled Individuals' Perceptions of Music Archives

Elizabeth A. Pineo


For centuries, archives have been the sites of the symbolic annihilation of myriad marginalized groups. With this project, I aim to determine the root causes of the symbolic annihilation of Disabled individuals, specifically in music archives and how best, in their view, to combat it. I also explore the topics of anticipatory erasure and access fatigue and hope to highlight the narrative flaws in music academia writ large as pertains to disability. In order to achieve these goals, I reached out through social media websites and email lists to 177 Disabled individuals with ties to music and asked them to take an online, anonymous survey. I asked about their perceptions of music and non-music archives, archival accessibility, well-known Disabled musical figures, and accuracy of representation of Disabled individuals. My findings suggest that, overall, the most effective step archivists can take to combat symbolic annihilation of Disabled individuals in music archives is to either acquire more materials about Disabled individuals or to locate and re-describe existing materials to indicate that they are about Disabled individuals. Other steps archivists might take will be explored in the presentation itself.

Video recording

About the Speaker

Elizabeth A. Pineo

Elizabeth A. Pineo (she/her) is a Master’s of Library and Information Science student at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool). Her research focuses on symbolic annihilation of Disabled individuals in music archives, with a specific concentration on neurodiversity. Her current work focuses on how Disabled archive users perceive the representation they encounter in music and non-music archives. Elizabeth’s recent work has been published in the Including Disability journal and presented at the Ohio State University Multiple Perspectives Conference. She holds a B.A. in Music from Dickinson College (2021), and, in the fall, she will begin working toward her Ph.D., also at the University of Maryland. Twitter
A youn blond female wearing glasses and a purple vest. She is smiling.
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