The editorial board of the 19th issue of Poznan Slavic Studies invites you to elaborate together the problem of the role of the archive in the research practices of literary scholars. In the frame of the positivist paradigm it was believed that the archive and all archival practices are related to the impartial collection of information and materials about people, events, cultures. The theoretical turns in the humanities, beginning in the early 1970s, lead to a critical study of concepts such as representation, objectivity and authenticity. Cultural studies, re-evaluating the positivist heritage, highlight the entanglements of archival practices in the modes of power and problematize archivists’ epistemological attitudes. As Derrida states in his essay Archive Fever: “the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future. The archivization produces as much as it records the event” (p. 17, Diacritics, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Summer, 1995)).
There are no archives in their own right. First of all, at the stage before the archive, i.e. at the moment of creating the documents (transcripts, letters, literary works, etc.), the entries refer to other texts and contexts. Secondly, each archive remains only a collection of sources, if it does not evolve into a narrative over time. Last but not least, in research practices archival documents always build interpretative networks along with other texts, which allows them to be verified and understood. Today literary historians are obliged to read heterogeneously different texts, shedding light to each other (archival documents, artistic works, non-literary texts, memoirs, diaries etc.) in order to build multi-layered contexts within which a narration about the past is possible.
Archive producers, archivists and archive researchers produce knowledge and select information, memorabilia, records and traces. They are mediators in the transferring and transmitting of knowledge in the sense of the Latourian actor-network theory. That means that all the operations they conduct are also an interpretative, interfering, transforming, situating and involved practices. Their power over the records and the traces of the past, over the access to the archive influences the ways of forming and generating history and memory.
The study of the archive has a practical, affective and ontological dimension. Reading the collected materials, touching the preserved objects, often covered with dust (substantially - as Carolyn Steedman shows – very close to the ashes of the deceased), the archivist researcher embodies the relationship with a phenomenon that has a particular meaning for him/her. Reactions triggered by the research/creation/production/destruction/reinterpretation of the archive are both conceptual and pre-language, affective and the latter equally determine the understanding of the role of the archive. As an ontological fact the archive is a necessary condition of existence – its vitality is connected with its ability to create heterogeneous nets of relations, obtained through the archive’s various repetitions, reproductions and translations.
We would like to draw your attention to the following topics:
- the archival practices and archive research as an experience;
- the archive as a challenge for the ethics of participatory cognition;
- the archive as a form of power: political regulated access to the knowledge about the past and the archive;
- the archive as a form of memory;
- the role of the archive for the research of the history of Slavic literatures from mid 20th century;
- "the other life" of the secret archives: the archives of special services as a source for the literary history;
- missing and forgotten places in the archives: (half)destroyed and forbidden archives as a challenge for the literary history narrative;
- the metaphor of the hideout: the private archive as an alternative archive – secret diaries and notes, literary texts written for one’s own;
- the archive and the contemporary “technology of memory”;
- commemoration as a form of putting the future in motion;
- the archive as a determinant of the traumatic horizon of loss;
- the digital archive in the era of digital humanities and new media technologies – connections and dependencies.
The authors are requested to send their texts (of which length must not exceed 27 thousand of letters, i.e. 15 pages) by the end of June 2020 via the journal’s page “Poznańskie Studia Slawistyczne” on the Pressto platform (https://pressto.amu.edu.pl/index.php/pss/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions) or to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. On the very platform, the authors can find all the publishing instructions - https://pressto.amu.edu.pl/index.php/pss/about/submissions#authorGuidelines. Volume’s thematic editors: prof. Plamen Dojnov, Adriana Kovacheva, PhD.