MillerComm Lecture Series

Potential History of the Archive: The Micro Study of a Macro Institution

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
Ariella Azoulay

Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum

600 South Gregory


Event Description

Archives are interwoven with the presence of those who occupy various positions of power, authorizing them to both preserve and expose materials, as well as with the presence of those who come to leaf through those materials. Yet, archives are also sites of “potential history,” unrealized possibility that motivated and directed the actions of various actors in the past, and of a possibility that may become our own and be reactivated to guide our actions. The power and potentiality of archives brings us to the juncture of the macro and micro, large-scale power structures and smaller scale forms of civil relations and being-together that existed, and exist, at any moment in history without being shaped solely let alone exhausted by macro institutions.

This talk will draw on Professor Azoulay’s micro engagement with photographic archives of U.S. slavery to argue for the civil possibilities within the macro structures and macro histories of regime-made disasters.

Hosted by: Department of Communication and the Program in Art History

In conjunction with: College of Education, Department of African American Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Asian American Studies, Department of English, Department of Gender & Women's Studies, Department of History, Department of Media and Cinema Studies, Department of Philosophy, Department of Political Science, Department of Sociology, Krannert Art Museum, Program in American Indian Studies, Program in Jewish Culture and Society, School of Art + Design, Spurlock Museum, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory


Ariella Azoulay

Professor of Comparative Literature, Brown University