I. Keynote Lecture
Dr. Peter Moser- Archives of Rural History, Bern
From a black box to a potential for rural historians? How do sources get into the archives – and what contribution the community of rural historians could make in this field.
Sources are a central basis for any historiography and they can usually be found and consulted in the archives. But how did the historical sources get into the archives? Who was involved in securing them and cataloguing the records? Who decided which documents were to be archived and which were not? And: why did the sources from so many actors relevant for rural history writing never made it to the archival institutions? Surprisingly, historians know little about these activities, which have such far-reaching implications for their work. Occasionally they complain about limited access or lack of sources. But they rarely get involved themselves to improve the situation. Why is this and how could the situation be improved? Drawing on our experience at the Archives of Rural History in Switzerland over the past two decades, I will discuss how historians might change this and how they could, with the help of the EURHO, turn the black box into a potential for historiography in their own country.