In this witty, engaging, and challenging book, Carolyn Steedman has produced an original -- and sometimes irreverent -- investigation into how modern historiography has developed. Dust: The Archive and Cultural History considers our stubborn set of beliefs about an objective material world -- inherited from the nineteenth century -- with which modern history writing and its lack of such a belief, attempts to grapple. Drawing on her own published and unpublished writing, Carolyn Steedman has produced a sustained argument about the way in which history writing belongs to the currents of thought shaping the modern world.
Steedman begins by asserting that in recent years much attention has been paid to the archive by those working in the humanities and social sciences; she calls this practice "archivization." By definition, the archive is the repository of "that which will not go away, " and the book goes on to suggest that, just like dust, the "matter of history" can never go away or be erased.
This unique work will be welcomed by all historians who want to think about what it is they do.