The Permissive Archive

Do you like archives? Of course you like archives. All the best people like archives.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL), my PhD colleagues and I are organising a one-day conference on archival research dealing with anything in the period 1500-1800. It’s at Queen Mary, University of London, on 9 November 2012 (which is a Friday, so you can come and make a weekend of it in glorious Olympics-free London). We’d love you to join us! Yes, you. The lovely person reading this on their computer screen. There will be papers, and stellar refreshments, and dancing girls… (maybe not the latter, unless I have too much conference wine).

The Call for Papers is below – the deadline is 31 July, in just over two weeks time. So please get sending! And registration will soon be available. Please check out our conference website at http://permissivearchive.wordpress.com/ and the CELL website at http://www.livesandletters.ac.uk/ for more information.

Meanwhile, a comic answering a question I’ve been asked a few times…

And the Call for Papers:

The Permissive Archive, Queen Mary University of London, 9 November 2012

For ten years, the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) has pioneered original archival research that illuminates the past for the benefit of the modern research community, and beyond. To celebrate this anniversary, in early November 2012 we will be holding a conference examining the future of the ‘Permissive Archive’.

The scope of archival history is broad, and this conference seeks presentations from a wide range of work which opens up archives – not only by bringing to light objects and texts that have lain hidden, but by demystifying and demonstrating the skills needed to make new histories. Too long associated with settled dust, archival research will be championed as engaged and engaging: a rigorous but permissive field.

We welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of early modern archival work, manuscript or print, covering the period 1500 – 1800. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The shape of the archive – ideology and interpretation
  • The permissive archive: its definition and its past, present and future
  • Alternatives to the permissive archive
  • Archival research as discovery or construction
  • The archive which challenges or disrupts
  • Uncatalogued material – how to find it, how to access it, how to use it
  • New findings
  • Success and failure
  • Broken or dispersed collections
  • The archive and the environment
  • The archivist and the historian
  • The ethics of the archive
  • The comedy of the archive
  • Order and anarchy

Please send 300-word proposals to hjgrahammatheson@gmail.com. Deadline July 31st.

Submissions are not limited to the 20-minute paper. CELL will be holding a workshop on the use of archival materials, and we are keen to hear from scholars with ideas for alternative presentations such as group sessions, trips or guided walks. Submissions will be peer-reviewed by Professor Lisa Jardine.

You can also download a PDF of the Call for Papers here

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4 thoughts on “The Permissive Archive

  1. Pingback: The end of the beginning | Early Modern Post

  2. Pingback: The Permissive Archive schedule | Avoiding The Bears

  3. Pingback: Running a Conference – The Permissive Archive and Learning by Doing | Early Modern Post

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