Nathan H. Dize deposited The Archive as Method: Virtual and Material Archives of the French Atlantic on Humanities Commons 2 years, 12 months ago
In the last two decades since the publication of Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, Caribbean historical studies has undergone an ‘archival turn.’ Indeed, archives and formal institutions of knowledge have always been and continue to be an integral part of historical work, but Trouillot’s work has called into question the act of collection, the assembling of archives that speak to the “unevenness of historical power” (Trouillot 56). The ‘archival turn’ along with the concurrent wave of digital humanities scholarship, the tools and methods used to assemble archives, data sets, and interact with collections has resulted in new modes of writing and telling stories of Atlantic slavery. Thanks to the digitization of numerous collections and attempts to promote access to new material, scholars and historians of the French Atlantic zone are able to tell new stories while reaching new publics. This course uses virtual and material archives as the point of departure to consider several questions: What does it mean to create increased (digital) access to archival holdings? What affordances do print and digital modes of storytelling provide for researchers and institutions? What are the limitations of virtual and physical archives? What is the role of the scholar and/or researcher in the proliferation of new sources and narratives of French Atlantic slavery? How does the proliferation of digital archives and function full-text searching allow scholars to address the “silencing” of enslaved peoples, particularly women and children, in colonial archives?