Alexandra J. Steinlight F'16

Alexandra J. Steinlight
Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2016
Doctoral Candidate
History
New York University
Salvaging Paper, Capturing Experience: Constructing France’s Wartime Archives, 1944-1979

This project explores the fate of France’s wartime archives during the three decades following World War II. Rather than treating the construction of archives as a top-down phenomenon driven by the state’s patrimonial politics, it argues that the project of processing the past was an undertaking shared—and contested—by an array of actors, including renowned scholars, archival functionaries, government officials, local notables, erudite amateurs, and resistance veterans. The relationship between state authority and the archive, often regarded as mutually constitutive, emerges in this account as inherently unstable. This dissertation suggests that the creation of archives functioned as a critical site of contestation over the remaking of the state, the pursuit of justice, the meaning of the war, and the writing of history.