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KEYNOTE: Storing Stuff, Structuring Stories. The power of digital archives in contemporary historiography

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

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Helle Strandgaard Jensen - Lecturer

Abstract: Understanding how archives work has always been key to the historical
profession. For centuries, historians have worked on refining their knowledge about archives and developed complex guides about their creation, content, and use. Even the most rebellious poststructural deconstructivists, who vigorously criticize the priorities of traditional archives, see knowledge about their structures as central to challenging their power. But what about dig
ital archives? How relevant is knowledge of traditional archives in the digital age? And what use might we make of it in the broader context of digital humanities? In my talk, I explore the power exercised by digital archives in contemporary historiography. I argue that the creation, use, and content of digital archives are profoundly different from the analogue, but the critical skills used to decode the power of analogue archives are as valuable as ever. I pose two questions: Whether the production of digital archives will lead to a re-canonization of historical research, and if specific digital structures suppress particular historiographical traditions. In considering these questions, I demonstrate how the critical skills that historians have obtained in order to understand the power of analogue archives are vital, if we want to unearth the power that their digital counterparts exert in shaping our understanding of the past, present, and future.
7 Nov 2017

External organisation (Academic)

NameDigital Humanities Lab, Denmark

ID: 118630081