Processing the Past: Contesting Authority in History and the Archives

Paperback | December 5, 2012

byFrancis X. Blouin, William G. Rosenberg

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Processing the Past explores the dramatic changes taking place in historical understanding and archival management and in 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, newconceptions of archives, changing notions of historical authority, modifications in archival practices, and new information technologies. The book situates archives as subjects rather than places of study and examines the increasingly problematic relationships between historical and archival work. The authors contend that though historians and archivists once occupied the same conceptual and methodological space, they have divided into two separate professions with distinct conceptual frameworks and understandings of the authorities that govern their work: historians now ask questions noteasily answered by traditional documentation, and archivists confront the challenges of new technologies and increases in the amounts of material they process. Blouin and Rosenberg conclude by raising the question of what future historical archives might be like if historical scholars and archivistsno longer understand each other.

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Processing the Past explores the dramatic changes taking place in historical understanding and archival management and in 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, newconceptions of archives, changing notions of h...

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 Resource...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:December 5, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199964084

ISBN - 13:9780199964086

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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) Knowledge9. Rethinking Archival Politics: Trust, Truth, and the Law10. Archives and the Cyberinfrastructure11. Can Archives and History Reconnect: Bridging the Archival DivideIndex