Introduction: memory ethics—or the presence of the past in the present
First Online: 09 March 2011 DOI:
Cite this article as: Wallace, D.A. Arch Sci (2011) 11: 1. doi:10.1007/s10502-011-9140-7 Abstract
This special issue of Archival Science examines the orientations, paradoxes, and tensions evident in the ethical struggles over the construction of the past and the degree to which archival agency can intercede in supporting a broadly drawn historical justice that also engages contemporary issues. Inspired and framed by a May 2008 conference hosted by School of Information and Labadie Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the following essays offer case study examinations of how archival institutions and archivists contribute to societal memory systems through both their action and inaction, especially in regard to societal struggles over the meanings to be derived from the past.
Keywords Ethics Memory Justice Politics Power
A reference to Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “habitus” which he defines as “that presence of the past in the present.” See his “Social being, time and the sense of existence.” In Bourdieu P (1999), Pascalian meditations Stanford: Stanford University Press, p. 210. Quoted by Stoler AL (
) Along the archival grain: epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, pp. 38–39. This notion is also expressed in Booth ( 2009 ), p. x. 2006 References
Blackmon DA (2008) Slavery by another name: the re-enslavement of black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Doubleday, New York
Blustein J (2008) The moral demands of memory. Cambridge University Press, New York
Booth WJ (2006) Communities of memory: on witness, identity, and justice. Cornell University Press, Ithaca
Cohen S (2001) States of denial: knowing about atrocities and suffering. Polity, Cambridge
Lindqvist S (1996) “Exterminate all the brutes”: one man’s odyssey into the heart of darkness and the origins of European genocide. New Press, New York
McNeil DG (2010) US apologizes for syphilis tests in Guatemala. New York Times, October 1. Available at.
. Accessed 31 Jan 2011
Platt AM (2005) Bloodlines: recovering Hitler’s Nuremberg laws from Patton’s trophy to public memorial. Paradigm, Boulder
Smith LT (1999) Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples. Zed, London
Stoler AL (2009) Along the archival grain: epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense. Princeton University Press, New Jersey
Thompson J (2002) Taking responsibility for the past: reparation and historical justice. Polity, Cambridge
Todorov T (2010) Memory as a remedy for evil. Seagull, London
Walsh DS (2010) The Guatemalan syphilis experiment: an interview with Susan Reverby. History News Network, October 4. Available at.
. Accessed 30 Jan 2011
Whorley T (2002) The Tuskegee syphilis study and the politics of memory. In: Cox RJ, Wallace DA (eds) Archives on trial: accountability and records in modern society. Quorum books. Westport, Connecticut, pp 165–176
Google Scholar Copyright information
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011