Introduction; C. Hamilton, et al. The Power of the Archive and its Limits; A. Mbembe. The Archives and the Political Imaginary; B. Peterson. Archive Fever in South Africa; J. Derrida. Psychoanalysis and the Archive: Derrida's Archive Fever; S. van Zyl. A Shaft of Darkness: Derrida in the Archive; V. Harris. Colonial Archives and the Arts of Governance: On the Content in the Form; A.L. Stoler. 'Picturing the Past' in Namibia: The Visual Archive and its Energies; P. Hayes, et al. The Archival Sliver: A Perspective on the Construction of Social Memory in Archives and the Transition from Apartheid to Democracy; V. Harris. The Archive, Public History and the Essential Truth: The TRC Reading the Past; B. Harris. The Human Genome as Archive: Some Illustrations from the South: H. Soodyall, et al. `The History of the Past is the Trust of the Present': Preservation and Excavation in the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa; G. Reid. `Living by Fluidity': Oral Histories, Material Custodies and the Politics of Archiving; C. Hamilton. Orality and Literacy in an Electronic Era; P. Mpe. Holdings: Refiguring the Archive; J. Taylor. Literature and the Archive: The Biography of Texts; S. Nuttall. Keeping the Self: The Novelist as (Self-)Archivist; R. Suresh Roberts. Electronic Record-keeping, Social Memory and Democracy; D. Bearman. Blackbirds and Black Butterflies; M. Hall. Biographical Notes. Index. Acknowledgments.
Refiguring the Archive at once expresses cutting-edge debates on `the archive' in South Africa and internationally, and pushes the boundaries of those debates. It brings together prominent thinkers from a range of disciplines, mainly South Africans but a number from other countries. Traditionally archives have been seen as preserving memory and as holding the past. The contributors to this book question this orthodoxy, unfolding the ways in which archives construct, sanctify, and bury pasts. In his contribution, Jacques Derrida (an instantly recognisable name in intellectual discourse worldwide) shows how remembering can never be separated from forgetting, and argues that the archive is about the future rather than the past. Collectively the contributors demonstrate the degree to which thinking about archives is embracing new realities and new possibilities. The book expresses a confidence in claiming for archival discourse previously unentered terrains. It serves as an early manual for a time that has already begun.
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