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Processing the PastContesting Authorities in History and the Archives$
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Francis X. Blouin, Jr and William G. Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199740543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740543.001.0001

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The Turn Away from Archival Authority in History

The Turn Away from Archival Authority in History

(p.63) 4 The Turn Away from Archival Authority in History
Processing the Past

Francis X. Blouin Jr.

William G. Rosenberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Just as archivists were moving away from the historical authorities that had long structured their practices, historical scholarship was undergoing its own conceptual shifts. This chapter traces the emergence of new paradigms that expanded the boundaries of historical exploration in recent decades beyond the institutional focus that once bound the work of the archivist and the work of the historian together. These new questions were not so easily researched in traditional archives. While this chapter explores the problems of historical narration, evidence, the linguistic and cultural turns, postmodernism, and other matters that may be well-known to academic historians, it does so in terms of the challenges they raised for archives changing meanings of “authority” in history they reflect and their consequent challenges for archives.

Keywords:   access, grammar of objectivity, Annales, social history, evidence, narration, linguistic turn, cultural turn, postmodernism, deconstruction

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