The Permissive Archive - Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Queen Mary, University of London, November 2012

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Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) at Queen Mary, University of London

For ten years, the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) has pioneered original archival research that illuminates the past for the benefit of the modern research community, and beyond. To celebrate this anniversary, in early November 2012 we will be holding a conference examining the future of the 'Permissive Archive'.

The scope of archival history is broad, and this conference seeks presentations from a wide range of work which opens up archives - not only by bringing to light objects and texts that have lain hidden, but by demystifying and demonstrating the skills needed to make new histories. Too long associated with settled dust, archival research will be championed as engaged and engaging: a rigorous but permissive field.

We welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of early modern archival work, manuscript or print, covering the period 1500 – 1800.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

• The shape of the archive – ideology and interpretation

• The permissive archive: its definition and its past, present and future

• Alternatives to the permissive archive

• Archival research as discovery or construction

• The archive which challenges or disrupts

• Uncatalogued material – how to find it, how to access it, how to use it

• New findings

• Success and failure

• Broken or dispersed collections

• The archive and the environment

• The archivist and the historian

• The ethics of the archive

• The comedy of the archive

• Order and anarchy

Please send 300-word proposals to

Submissions are not limited to the 25-minute paper. CELL will be holding a work-shop on the use of archival materials, and we are keen to hear from scholars with ideas for alternative presentations such as group sessions, trips or guided walks.

Submissions will be peer-reviewed by Professor Lisa Jardine.