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Rachel Daniell / Anthropology

Graduate Student Researcher
Started at the NML: August 2015

Project: The Digital Afterlives of Government Documents
NML Award: The New Media Lab Digital Dissertation Award (April 2017)

Rachel Daniell

Rachel Daniell is a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center conducting research on everyday social practices around data and documents that can contribute to the visibility of human rights violations. She is interested in the intersection of evidence, documentation, archives, technology, and data visualization with historical memory and state accountability.

Long interested in the possibilities of technology and media to impact contexts of social justice, she is a former member of Media Jumpstart (May First Technology Collective) and Paper Tiger Television and currently works with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF). She has also co-edited two publications with memory studies colleagues Lindsey Freeman and Benjamin Nienass: an edited volume, Silence, Screen, and Spectacle: Rethinking Social Memory in the Age of Information (Berghahn Books, March 2014), and a special issue of the journal Memory Studies “Memory | Materiality | Sensuality” (v.9.1, January 2016).

Her dissertation research looks at governmental and non-governmental archival projects that collect, digitize, organize, and index documents from the George W. Bush administration and examines the ways these projects add layers of meaning to documents with the potential to facilitate understandings of history and accountability. Her project at the New Media Lab, “The Digital Afterlives of Government Documents,” focuses on exploring potential uses of the API tool of the ACLU’s Torture FOIA Database, as well as visualizing key indexing and organizing processes involved in creating nongovernmental online archives of the George W. Bush administration. Her New Media Lab project was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2016 NYC Digital Humanities Graduate Student Digital Project Awards.