The contributors of Contesting Archives challenge the assumption that an archive is a neutral, immutable, and a historical repository of information. Instead, these historians view it as a place where decisions are made about whose documents--and therefore whose history--is important. Finding that women's voices and their texts were often obscured or lost altogether, they have developed many new methodologies for creating unique archives and uncovering more evidence by reading documents "against the grain," weaving together many layers of information to reveal complexities and working collectively to reconstruct the lives of women in the past.
Global in scope, this volume demonstrates innovative research on diverse women from the sixteenth century to the present in Spain, Mexico, Tunisia, India, Iran, Poland, Mozambique, and the United States. Addressing gender, race, class, nationalism, transnationalism, and migration, these essays' subjects include indigenous women of colonial Mexico, Muslim slave women, African American women of the early twentieth century, Bengali women activists of pre-independence India, wives and daughters of Qajar rulers in Iran, women industrial workers in communist Poland and socialist Mozambique, and women club owners in modern Las Vegas. A foreword by Antoinette Burton adroitly synthesizes the disparate themes woven throughout the book.
Contributors are Janet Afary, Maryam Ameli-Rezai, Antoinette Burton, Nupur Chaudhuri, Julia Clancy-Smith, Mansoureh Ettehadieh, Malgorzata Fidelis, Joanne L. Goodwin, Kali Nicole Gross, Daniel S. Haworth, Sherry J. Katz, Elham Malekzadeh, Mary Elizabeth Perry, Kathleen Sheldon, Lisa Sousa, and Ula Y. Taylor.