Theme: Archives

In 2023-2024 CIDRAL’s activities will be Maartje van Gelder.

Archives are multitudes. They are repositories of material, sonic, and olfactory traces of the past. These traces reflect history but also shape it. They are the departure point for new stories, and for the refashioning of the past in the present.

Archives encapsulate the struggle between order and chaos, between numeration and narrative, and between categorisation and its failures.

Archives can impose boundaries, whether temporal, geographical, social, racial, or sexual, and more. But to engage with and embrace the incompletion and inconsistencies of the archive is simultaneously to dismantle, at least in part, some of those boundaries.

Some questions that CIDRAL would like to reflect upon as part of this theme are:

  • What political work needs to be done with the traces of racial, gender, sexual that are embedded in archives? What would, say, an anti-racist archive look like?
  • What is the relationship between interdisciplinarity and the archive?
  • What archival stories emerge when reading archives against the grain?
  • And what kinds of fictions do we tell about archives? What do our fictional archives tell us about history and our relationship to the past and to alternative futures?

Researchers from across the School will be leading on several CIDRAL-sponsored, archive-related events. For more details please visit the events page.

CIDRAL’s Visiting Fellow for 2023-2024 will also be related to the theme of archives.

And CIDRAL will again be hosting a reading group for researchers in SALC on this year’s theme.