Authoritative History and Authoritative Archives

Francis X. Blouin Jr. and William G. Rosenberg

in Processing the Past

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199740543
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894673 | DOI:
Authoritative History and Authoritative Archives

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This chapter begins a historical examination of the changing relationships between notions of authority, history, and documentation. It shows how conceptions of reason and science institutionalized by the French revolution built on early practices of document verification to create new conceptions of how the past could be scientifically “known” through modern archives constituted as the repositories of authoritative sources. This chapter also examines the particular kinds of historical understanding that emerged in nineteenth- and twentieth-century archival scholarship as a result of the ways most major archives became part of the institutional and political structures of developing nation-states, especially in Europe and North America. It shows how historians and archivists developed together in this period as part of the same scholarly and professional community

Keywords: scientific history; Leopold von Ranke; diplomatics; Vatican archives; historical records; authority; L’École des chartes

Chapter.  9062 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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