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Constructing ‘the geographical archive’

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The recent success of the RGS–IBG in securing funds to develop the Society’s archives provides a moment in which those interested in the history of geographical knowledge and of geography as an academic discipline might reflect on the nature of ‘the geographical archive’ that is constituted in and by the academic department. Drawing, in part, upon the work of Derrida and of Foucault, the paper firstly examines what an archive is and what it does. Secondly, the paper raises questions about the process of archiving and the practices of being in the archive, using the example of a research project on the history of disciplinary geography in the author’s university department. In conclusion, the paper calls for wider collective attention to the nature of ‘the geographical archive’ in institutions teaching and researching geography in the UK.

Keywords: archives; disciplinarity; geographical knowledge; history of British geography

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Edinburgh

Publication date: September 1, 2002


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