Mapping Archival Silence: technology and the historical record
- Marlene Manoff (see profile)
- TC Digital Humanities, TM Libraries and Research
- Digital humanities, Media studies, Scholarly communication
- Item Type:
- Book chapter
- Absence Presence, archives, critical making, digital media, materiality
- Permanent URL:
- Recent theorizations of archival silence signal a heightened and expanding concern with information that is lost, concealed, destroyed or simply not available for scholarly use. As our access to the archive becomes more dependent upon technologies of the interface, scholars exhibit increasing concern about the impact of digital affordances and constraints on record-keeping, research and artistic production. As digital archives are technocultural artifacts, developments in the field of science studies can provide insight into the interdependence and coevolution of the social, cultural and material factors shaping archival silence. Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Bruno Latour and others have shown how machine and human agents form tightly linked networks that must be understood as dynamically integrated wholes. Digital archives lend themselves to this kind of exploration of the entanglement of matter and meaning; content and device, human and machine elements. We can thus understand digital archives not as singular physical entities, but as a set of possibilities shaped by the convergence of social and material factors.
- This is a preprint of a chapter accepted for publication by Facet Publishing. The definitive version may be found in Engaging with Records and Archives: histories and theories (Dec. 2016) edited by Fiorella Foscarini et al.
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