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Religion in Secular ArchivesSoviet Atheism and Historical Knowledge$
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Sonja Luehrmann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199943623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199943623.001.0001

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Sympathy on Record

(p.134) Chapter 4 Counter-Archives
Religion in Secular Archives

Sonja Luehrmann

Oxford University Press

All over the world, critiques of the silences imposed by public archives have led to movements to establish “counter-archives” or “identity archives” presenting the perspective of particular groups. One example is the Keston Archive and Library, a collection of religious samizdat and documents on the situation of Soviet believers compiled by the Anglican priest Michael Bourdeaux in Great Britain, and currently housed at Baylor University. Keston is a counter-archive not only in terms of its content, but also in its way of organizing and cataloging records. Rather than following the archival principle of provenance, reflecting the bureaucratic agencies that created records, the collection is organized by subject. By preserving the subject categories that interested an original group of users, the archive itself becomes a historical source on the role of Western readers and advocates in shaping our views of religious life in the Soviet Union.

Keywords:   samizdat, Keston Institute, Michael Bourdeaux, Baylor University, counter-archive, provenance, identity archive, user-centric catalogue

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