Archives, Documentation, and Institutions of Social Memory: by Francis Xavier Blouin Jr., William G. Rosenberg

By Francis Xavier Blouin Jr., William G. Rosenberg

As websites of documentary maintenance rooted in quite a few nationwide and social contexts, artifacts of tradition, and areas of uncovering, files supply tangible proof of reminiscence for people, groups, and states, in addition to defining reminiscence institutionally inside of triumphing political platforms and cultural norms. by way of assigning the prerogatives of list keeper to the archivist, whose acquisition rules, discovering aids, and diverse institutionalized predilections mediate among scholarship and knowledge, records produce wisdom, legitimize political structures, and build identities. faraway from being mere repositories of knowledge, files really embrace the fragments of tradition that suffer as signifiers of who we're, and why. The essays in information, Documentation, and associations of Social reminiscence conceive of documents no longer easily as ancient repositories yet as a fancy of buildings, procedures, and epistemologies positioned at a serious element of the intersection among scholarship, cultural practices, politics, and technologies.Francis X. Blouin Jr. is Professor of historical past and Director of the Bentley old Library on the collage of Michigan.William G. Rosenberg is Professor of heritage, college of Michigan.

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While the Second Empire searched his­ tory and the Archives for evidence to shore up its legiti­ macy (funding works on Caesar, staging historical pag­ eants, and creating a cult of the first Napoleon) , publicite called on the scholarly public to play a central role in this endeavor. 6 Laborde argued that archival access not only encouraged the production of "good books, " it was also good policy. As historians and governments across Europe became increasingly inter­ ested in organizing and mining state records in the name of national histories, France could hardly tout its moder­ nity if it were perceived as unwilling to communicate his­ torical documents.

The Problem of Publicite in the Archives of Second Empire France Jennifer S. Milligan I France's Second Empire to power, Karl Marx produced blinded him t o the possibility that welcoming scholars to the Archives also invited conflict over the definition of "good books. " While Laborde had faith that the Ar­ chives held a single, self-evident truth, liberal publicite might aid and abet challenges to the Empire's interpreta­ tion of history and its political legitimacy. In spite of con­ scious efforts to open the institution in a bid to control the production of historical knowledge, the Empire re­ mained unaware that the Archives also functioned on their own terms.

8 1 L'affaire d'Haussonville could be treated as an anomalous particularity chalked up to personal moti­ vations and mistakes rather than as a systemic ill from which broad lessons could be drawn about the power of the Archives to negotiate the relationship between state The Problem of Publicite in the Archives of Second Empire France and citizen. Maury solved the problem quietly, describing his actions in a postscript to a personal letter to the em­ peror: "I am in the process of locking up, under special order, several sensitive documents that I have put aside.

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