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CFP: The power of the metaphorical: reflections and diffractions in archival research, 13 March 2017, University of East London.

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The power of the metaphorical: reflections and diffractions in archival research

A Feminist Research Group Event

Monday 13 March @ University of East London


A Call for Papers! And Registration!


A one-day conference will be held at the University of East London on Monday 13 March 2017, to explore the impact of new technological, conceptual and methodological ideas on how archives and their contents are now being used to ‘research the past’, and what claims can be made for the result. This call for is for papers regarding all forms of archival research, with ‘the archive’ cast wide to spread from National Archives, to local archives, to buttonboxes and photograph albums, to radical-archives-in-the-making, to digital collections and more, and how ‘the trace’ now shapes up in relation to them.

The conference is one of three organised around the clarion-call made in The Archive Project (Moore, Salter, Stanley & Tamboukou, Routledge, August 2016), that the archival turn needs to be rethought in ways that avoid re-mythologising and which instead put ‘the trace’ (conference 1, Edinburgh), the power of the metaphorical (conference 2, London) and the multiplicities of writing (conference 3, Cambridge) at the core.

London theme: The use of metaphors in archival research opens new ways to study documents, as well as to interrogate existing practices and power/knowledge regimes. Metaphors can be used to create patterns of excavating, assembling and reassembling documents, to interrogate taxonomies, categories and classifications, to chart practices of reading, configuring and imagining characters, practices and events. But metaphors also have their own restrictions and limitations and can be used to exclude, redraw boundaries and recreate indexes. ‘Flying aeroplanes’, ‘burning catalogues’, ‘reflections and diffractions’, ‘boundary objects’, ‘archival webs’ and ‘the cat’s cradle’ are some of the metaphors that we have drawn upon, deployed, but also criticized and problematized in The Archive Project. The power of the metaphorical in archival research is what we want to consider in the London symposium.

Offers of papers: Papers on any aspect of ‘the metaphorical’ and how to think about and use it in archival inquiries are welcomed. The aim is to represent a wide range of ideas, arguments, archives and traces, and to aid this the slots for papers will be 20 minutes + 10 discussion in length. Please send a title and an abstract of not more than 400 words with your offer of a paper as an email attachment to Maria Tamboukou, Social Sciences, University of East London, email

Closing date for offers: The closing date for offers of papers is Monday 23 January 2017.

Registration for attendance: Registration for the London event is open NOW! There is no charge. However, room capacity is limited and therefore early registration is encouraged. There is a registration form at the end of this flyer – please complete and send the form to the email address above. Exactly when registration closes will depend on numbers, but the final date will be 6 March. Numbers will be limited to 40, so please register asap to avoid disappointment. Thank you.

The date: Monday 13 March, 10am to 4.30pm (coffee from 9:30 am)

The place: University of East London.

Offers of paper: by 23 January 2017

The detail: Building & room details with abstracts & a conference programme will be sent by email and file attachment in later December to people who are registered for the event.

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