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Summer School 2024: ‘The Origins of Archives’

The Huizinga Institute research network “Archives of Power/The Power of Archives” will offer an interdisciplinary summer school on the various and complex origin stories of archives. Many traditional archives are created by states and rulers, presenting a story about the past those in powers wanted to bequeath to posterity. Other depositories of documents, such as counter-archives, seek to correct such one-sided histories found by collecting or even creating documents of those who had remained voiceless. Still other repositories grew out of private collections of objects and documents, assembled through passion, chance, or a greedy desire to own, to possess, to master.

In this three-day summer school, we will investigate various aspects of how archives were created. We will think about who is represented in those archives and who remains invisible, which technologies have shaped how we preserve, and how origin stories of archives can help historians make sense of the past. We will reflect on the creation and preservation of archives in times of war, on the symbiosis between state archives, the rise of the nation state, and modern/professional historians. Our seminars will revolve around the (intentional) destruction of archival records and collective forgetting as well as the role of archives in our digital world and of the digitization and industrialization of archives.

The summer school takes place in Amsterdam from June 18-20, 2024, and includes various site visits to libraries and archives. The goal of the summer school is 1) to give participants conceptual and theoretical skills to understand archives and to ‘read’ the complex technologies behind archives and other repositories of historical knowledge; and 2) to enable participants to apply methodological approaches to the archive to their own research projects. Participants receive 3 ECTS upon successful completion of the summer school.

Further information about the program and the readings will follow in January 2024.

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