Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Permissive Archive - Call for papers

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 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

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

Submissions are not limited to the 25-minute paper. CELL will be
holding a work-shop 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.


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