Reconnecting mind and matter: materiality in archival theory and practice
Rekrut, Alicia (Ala)
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This thesis considers the assumptions and beliefs of the archival profession to reconceptualize how materiality is related to contextuality, and thereby reveal the “mind” within their material (or immaterial) form and reconnect records’ materiality with their archival value. Although materiality has received little critical consideration within the archival profession, the thesis proposes that the materiality of archival records is evidence of their contexts of creation and use through time, and that this idea, therefore, complements the postmodern contextualist turn in recent archival theory. An examination of how the materiality of records is treated in common archival practices reveals gaps between recent archival theory and current archival practice. The thesis concludes with suggestions for adjustments to archival practice to bring it into alignment with the goal of preserving those aspects of records which contribute to their archival value, and reconnecting mind with matter.