Law Text Culture


Archive Fever is a memorable title, used on the occasion of a memory conference (a most fashionable topic at the time) almost precisely 24 years ago in London, June 5th 1994, by the late Jacques Derrida. In retrospect, 24 years later, the thematic switch from memory to archive has become an evident move. Evidently, archives offer what may be called the literal, material groundwork for memories in many ways. The simplest, if somewhat metaphorical instance is the box, for example the shoe-box, in which we keep family photographs or tax receipts. In a different metaphorical vain, of generalisation instead of specification, a storage of electronically available items in so-called computer files exemplifies the literal, material meaning of the word archive in its historically most pertinent, for some time undervalued, but by now all of a sudden urgent role.