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Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History Paperback – January 25, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0822336884 ISBN-10: 082233688X

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Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History + Dust: The Archive and Cultural History (Encounters: cultural histories) + Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (Religion and Postmodernism)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Archive Stories is path-breaking in its subject matter, methodology, and up-to-date reflection on the status of historical knowledge. It is hard to see how anyone can avoid using this important anthology in methodology and historiography courses.”—Bonnie G. Smith, author of The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice


“Important and timely, this fascinating collection of tales from a multitude of repositories and record offices removes all sorts of archives from the historian’s grasp (though there are many extraordinary and brave historians writing here) and restores their meaning to politics and society, to the telling of individual and collective pasts.”—Carolyn Steedman, author of Dust: The Archive and Cultural History

From the Publisher

"Archive Stories is path-breaking in it subject matter, methodology, and up-to-date reflection on the status of historical knowledge. It is hard to see how anyone can avoid using this important anthology in methodology and historiography courses."— [RR; PP] Bonnie G. Smith, author of The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (January 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082233688X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822336884
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title suggests, this book is a collection of essays written by historians who have, to use the expression, been there and done that. Although these stories come from all over the world and take up a wide variety of topics, they are held together by a common theme: it is unrealistic to think that any archive contains merely the raw materials of history. Why? Because even the archive itself has a history, a history that dictates factors like what the archive contains, how its contents are arranged, how items are labeled, access to materials, and the unpredictable experiences of researchers.

A second and related theme is that historians these days are bound to sense a tug-of-war being waged. On the one hand are those positivist ideas about the high level of precision one can supposedly achieve as a result of archival research. (Perhaps such notions have been inspired by recent advances in forensic science popularized by television crime dramas). On the other hand is a postmodern view according to which not only history but even the archive itself is understood to be an interpretation. People who aspire to become historians, and armchair historians who want to know what it's like to dig around among the primary sources, should read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any graduate student of history should read this book.
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