Past Imperfect, Future Tense : Writing People’s Histories in the Middle East Today
Historians of the Middle East face a variety of obstacles in accessing state archives, at a time when archival material has become indispensable to historical research. In response, scholars have developed a range of strategies: some have taken to reflecting on the research process and the difficulties it entails, while others have turned to sources other than the state, questioning the official definition of the archive as well as the narratives and counter-narratives it has engendered. Are these adequate responses to the discursive and physical violence researchers must endure? Or do such strategies merely further empower security and market forces in their assault on the production of academic knowledge?