A critical archives scholar, Dr. Elizabeth Shaffer investigates the intersections of race, gender, and digital infrastructures and technologies. Her research questions how information policy, practices and systems emerge and evolve in contemporary digital spaces, with particular attention to social justice issues, impacts of colonialism, anti/de-colonial research and pedagogies, and collections that document traumatic human events. Through critical enquiry, Elizabeth’s current research brings together Black Studies and archival research to understand memory production and archives as sites of contestation. She is the research lead for the archive team on the SSHRC funded Transformative Memory International Network research project engaging Indigenous, Black and Southern knowledges in exploring how memory as a mechanism is conceived, documented and practiced in the context of public policy and scholarship on mass atrocity.
Prior to joining the iSchool, she was Executive Director at the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre and led the development of its digital collections systems. As Director of Collections at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, she oversaw initiatives focusing on the digitization, preservation, and educational use of Holocaust survivor testimonies and collections in support of anti-racism education and exhibition curation on issues of genocide.
Elizabeth lives, works and learns on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxw.7mesh (Squamish), and Səl.[ lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.