Jana Wantuły eksplorowanie obrzeży archiwum

Katarzyna Szkaradnik


Referring to Foucault’s understanding of the archive as a system of rules which settle the selection and classification of events, the article’s authoress deliberates Jan Wantuła’s practice as an archivist (explorer-“burrower”). Its intriguing example is his paper on the account book of Goleszów in Cieszyn Silesia. Discussing the content of that document, the famous peasant-booklover and regional historian from Ustroń concentrates on the participants of lawsuits recorded in the book, who endures only as names of the sentenced by the authorities, i.e. on the archive’s margin—paradoxically, included in the discourse as the excluded. Giving them their due and choosing their sides, Wantuła seems to fulfill the mission of redemption of the past, postulated by Benjamin. However, the article’s authoress considers, after Derrida, if it is not just imitation of the dead’s voices, and she acknowledges the tension between evoking contents of the archive and including it by historian in his or her own narration, which tries to say something in defiance of its rules. The article’s destination is an attempt to avoid the aporias of the archive in order to metaphorically liberate people guilty of insignificant offences from eternal condemnation in its registers.

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