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The archive stands as the evidentiary, discursive, and experimental center of Dr. Amma's work. As an indispensable site that undergirds all humanistic and social science inquiry—“the backdrop to all scholarly research,” as political theorist Irving Velody has argued, the archive requires constant reassessment of its definition, its function, and the methods scholars use to engage with it and its contents. This may explain an increasing preoccupation with the archive over the past 15 years beyond the disciplines of archival/library sciences and history.

Anxieties of what to do with the archive and archival materials have been expressed by historians and performance studies scholars alike:


“How exactly do historians put emotion back into the inanimate texts they read?”  


“How can we think about performance in historical terms, when the archive cannot capture and store the live event?” 





1 Irving Velody, “The Archive and the Human Sciences: Notes Towards a Theory of the Archive,” History of the Human Sciences 11, no. 4 (November 1998): 1.

2 See: Marlene Manoff, “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines,” Libraries and the Academy 4, no. 1 (2004): 9-25.

3 Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001), 63.

4 Diana Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), xvi.

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