Burton 2005

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Introduction: Archive Fever, Archive Stories, by Antoinette Burton

"the archive (as a trope, but also as a ideological and material resource) has acquired a new kind of sacral character in a variety of contemporary domains. This sacralization occurs as more and more people seek and help to create access to a more democratic vision of the archive: that is, as di√erent kinds of archival subjects and archive users proliferate, with their own archive stories to tell." (5)

"the anxieties which some academics feel at the possibility that ‘‘everything’’ might be an archive" (5)

"This liberal triumphalist (and one must add, mass market–capitalist) incarnation of the archive at the height of globalization rhetorics and practices makes it all the more imperative that we talk frankly and openly about the archives and the encounters that we as scholars and especially as historians have with them. For archives do not simply arrive or emerge fully formed; nor are they innocent of struggles for power in either their creation or their interpretive applications. Though their own origins are often occluded and the exclusions on which they are premised often dimly understood, all archives come into being in and as history as a result of specific political, cultural, and socioeconomic pressures—pressures which leave traces and which render archives themselves artifacts of history." (6)

"Taken as a whole, Archive Stories contends that the claims to objectivity associated with the traditional archive pose a challenge which must be met in part by telling stories about its provenance, its histories, its e√ect on its users, and above all, its power to shape all the narratives which are to be ‘‘found’’ there. What follows, in other words, are not merely histories or genealogies of archives or ‘‘the archive’’ but, rather, self-conscious ethnographies of one of the chief investigative foundations of History as a discipline." (6)

"all archives are 'figured'" (6)

"But our insistence on the necessity of talking about the backstage of archives—how they are constructed, policed, experienced, and manipulated— stems equally from our sense that even the most sophisticated work on archives has not gone far enough in addressing head-on the lingering presumptions about, and attachments to, the claims to objectivity with which archives have historically been synonymous, at least since the extended moment of positivistic science on the German model in the nineteenth century." (7)

mentions Tina Campt, Other Germans (pp. 88ff) -- relation between the "monumental" and the "minute"; answers how individual cases or oral histories with individuals can be said to address big sociohistorical questions -- these individuals are not representative but exemplary

Adele Perry, "The Colonial Archive on Trial"

On Delgamuukw v. British Columbia -- faced with lack of recognition, Aboriginal peoples brought to trial a vast amount of evidence for their possession of lands -- oral histories, song, performances that were recorded and entered into the official record to attempt to prove possession in absence of a written treaty. the case was rejected because the judge did not accept indigenous forms of record-keeping -- or even anthropologists who colluded with indigenous peoples -- only accepted historians and historical documentary/written evidence. powerful example of how popular representations of history, what counts as "evidence" or an "archive" (implications for state & power), can be used to erase other histories; and the need for postcolonial theories of the archive and history.