Processing the Past: Contesting Authorities in History and the Archives by Francis X. BlouinProcessing the Past: Contesting Authorities in History and the Archives by Francis X. Blouin

Processing the Past: Contesting Authorities in History and the Archives

byFrancis X. Blouin, William G. Rosenberg

Hardcover | March 4, 2011

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Processing the Past explores the dramatic changes taking place in historical understanding and archival management, and hence the relations between historians and archivists. Written by an archivist and a historian, it shows how these changes have been brought on by new historical thinking,new conceptions of archives, changing notions of historical authority, modifications in archival practices, and new information technologies. The book takes an "archival turn" by situating archives as subjects rather than places of study, and examining the increasingly problematic relationshipsbetween historical and archival work.By showing how nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historians and archivists in Europe and North America came to occupy the same conceptual and methodological space, the book sets the background to these changes. In the past, authoritative history was based on authoritative archives and mutualunderstandings of scientific research. These connections changed as historians began to ask questions not easily answered by traditional documentation, and archivists began to confront an unmanageable increase in the amount of material they processed and the challenges of new electronictechnologies. The authors contend that historians and archivists have divided into two entirely separate professions with distinct conceptual frameworks, training, and purposes, as well as different understandings of the authorities that govern their work. Processing the Past moves toward bridging this divide byspeaking in one voice to these very different audiences. Blouin and Rosenberg conclude by raising the worrisome question of what future historical archives might be like if historical scholars and archivists no longer understand each other, and indeed, whether their now different notions of what isarchival and historical will ever again be joined.
Francis X. Blouin Jr. is director of the Bentley Historical Library and professor in the history department and School of Information at the University of Michigan. From 1984 to 2004 he led an effort to do a complete inventory of the archives of the Vatican. He has served on the board of the Council on Library and Information Resources...
Title:Processing the Past: Contesting Authorities in History and the ArchivesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 6.5 × 9.29 × 1.1 inPublished:March 4, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199740542

ISBN - 13:9780199740543


Table of Contents

Introduction: On the Intersections of Archives and HistoryPART I: ARCHIVES, HISTORY, AND THE OPENING OF THE ARCHIVAL DIVIDE1. Authoritative History and Authoritative Archives2. The Turn Away from Historical Authority in the Archives3. Archival Authorities and New Technologies4. The Turn Away from Archival Authority in History5. Archival Essentialism and the Archival DividePART II: PROCESSING THE PAST6. The Social Memory Problem7. Contested Archives, Contested Sources8. The Archivist as Activist in the Production of (Historical) Knowl9. Rethinking Archival Politics: Trust, Truth, and the Law10. Archives and the CyberinfrastructureCan Archives and History Reconnect: Bridging the Archival DivideIndex