Reversible History and Fragile Archives
The brief epilogue confronts the question of the power of archival representation through a vignette about the archive in Ioshkar-Ola, Russia. Originally constructed on the grounds of an expropriated convent in the 1930s, the archive was forced to move in 2008 in the restructuring of the city center that involves reconstruction of churches but also the claiming of public lands for commercial and government buildings. The vignette illustrates the changing fortunes of history but also the material fragility of all archival records, no matter how much authority they once had. Working with Soviet atheist records, one learns to appreciate the intricate relationship between antagonism and curiosity, of continued relevance in the context of debates about the ability of secularist and religious people to coexist in the public sphere.
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