• The Matter of Archives

    176 | CCN: 77938

    4 Units

    Are archives worlds within worlds that allow us to relate to the remote past, or spaces of the administration of power? Are they agencies of a dominant interpretation of the past as history, or do they allow for a subversive reading of the colonial past? The course will look at the history, theory, and material culture of archives in such different fields as bureaucracy, art, science, and literature both long before and after the digital revolution. We will explore the archives as theoretical concept and depository of actual material as well as the organizing fantasies underwriting the bureaucratic administration of the past and the principles of classifying and processing data. The course explores the archive as an heterotopic space, a concrete and material space of the Other within or own culture, but also as a set of media technologies of transmission between the past and the present. We will also pay attention to the administrative and intellectual practices in the archive, its atmosphere, or the “aura” of archival objects.

    Requirements: Attendance is mandatory; you will be dropped from the class if you are not present during the first two weeks. Unexcused absences will result in a lower grade. You are required to present at least one of our readings to the class (20%), to write 3 responses papers (1-2 pages) to our readings (30%), and write a 5-7 page final paper (50%).

    We will make several field trips to different archives, and throughout the semester build our own collection of archival things. Readings for the course will consist of historical manuscripts and sources, texts on the history and theory of archives, and historiography. Articles and book chapters will be posted on bspace. In addition, the following books are required and will be available in the bookstore.