About the Book
The image of the dusty, undisturbed archives has been swept away in direct response to growing interest across disciplines in the materials they house and the desire to find and make meaning through our engagement with those materials.
Related theoretical frameworks and practices of archival studies scholars and archivists are transforming, furthermore, to reflect our understanding of the archives as anything but static. Archival deposits are proliferating with speed and the architects, practitioners, and scholars engaged with them are scarcely able to keep abreast of them. Archives, archival theory, and archival practice are on the move.
But what of the entreaties made in response to archives? What of the archives that were once safely housed and have since been lost, or are under threat? What of the urgency that underscores the appeals made on behalf of these archives? As scholars in this volume argue, archives—their materialization, their preservation, and the research produced about them—are also moving in a different way: they are involved in an emotionally engaged and charged process, one that acts equally upon archival subjects and those engaged with them. So, too, do archives at once represent members of various communities and the fields of study drawn to them.
Moving Archives grounds itself in the critical trajectory related to what Sara Ahmed calls “affective economies” to offer fresh insight into the processes of archiving and engaging with literary materials. These economies form the crucial affective contexts for the legitimation of archival caches in the present moment and for future use. Though they are not necessarily determined by ethical impulses, many scholars have called for such impulses to inform current archival practices, precisely because no archive is neutral.