Archive, Slow Ideology and Egodocuments as Microhistorical Autobiography : Potential History book cover
1st Edition

Archive, Slow Ideology and Egodocuments as Microhistorical Autobiography
Potential History

ISBN 9781032010793
Published September 2, 2021 by Routledge
170 Pages 63 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book aims to demonstrate how scholars in recent times have been utilizing egodocuments from various angles and providing an opening for the multivocality of the sources to be fully appreciated. The first part of the book is concerned with the significance of egodocuments, both for the individual him/herself who creates such documents, and also for the other, who receives them. The author approaches the subject on the basis of his own personal experience, and goes on to discuss the importance of such documents for the academic world, emphasizing more general questions and issues within the fields of historiography, philosophy of history, microhistory, and memory studies. The second part of the book is based upon a photographic collection – an archive – that belonged to the author’s grandfather, who over decades accumulated photographs of vagabonds and outsiders. This part seeks to explore what kind of knowledge can be applied when a single source – an archive, document, letter, illustration, etc. – is examined, and whether the knowledge derived may not be quite as good in its own context as in the broader perspective.

Table of Contents

Episode I

1. The Book – The "Slow" Process of Historical Analysis

My Grandfather and His Way of Approaching Life

2. Family Matters – Memory and the Importance of Egodocuments

At the Homefront

Events -> Narratives -> Analysis -> New Events

Blazing the Trail – New Cultural Studies

A Clear Vision

Episode II

3. Soft Spots – A Non-Autobiography


Part One

24 November 1938

Past Times

Love-Brandur (Guðbrandur Jónsson)

Poet and Friend (Símon Dalaskáld and Gvendur dúllari)

Little Viggi (Little Viggi)

Skólavarða Hilltop (Bensi of Rein)

Déjà-vu (Dabbi of Nes)

European Bourgeoisie (Þórarinn of Melur)

Business (Norwegian Óli)

King of the Plains (Skipper Oddur and King Christian X)

Rat-Petersen (Rat-Petersen)

Show (unidentified)

My Family, My Youth

Relative (Eyjólfur Pálsson)

Speed (unidentified)

Óli Maggadon (Óli Maggadon)

Benjamin Franklin (Jón saddle)

Watching (Trippa-Gísli)

Materials (Gunna of Hjálmsstaðir)

Joy (unidentified)

Upright (unidentified)

Fatigue (Jóhann ‘the Giant’)

Brother (Einar Jochumsson and Ingimundur fiddle Sveinsson)


Call of the Wild (Björn Mouse-eye from Eyjafjörður)

A Place in the Landscape (Mangi of Árbær)

Social Disability (Brynki of Hólmur)

Celebration (Jón Mustard)

PTL (Bogga the bread-saleswoman)

Shadow (Haukur Guðmundsson)

Part Two

24 November 1993

Back Home

Workhorse (Guðjón the watchsmith)

Two Friends (Gvendur and Ásmundur)

Uphill (Gunna of Hjálmsstaðir)

Painting (Guðmundur Árnason of Akranes)

Measurements (Gunnar Salómonsson)

Campaign (Óli prammi)

Capital (Sæfinnur with sixteen shoes)

September Day (Short Bjarni)

Into Another Mind

Question and Answer Session with a Representative of the People (Gísli, member of parliament for Bolungarvík)

Thought (Óli gossari)

Poet Tómas Guðmundsson Describes a Man (Ingimundur fiddle and his wife)

Health (Óli prammi)

List of Assets (Vilhjálmur Th., father of goldsmithery )

Aviation (Þorsteinn uxi)

Thirst for Life (Eyjólfur ljóstollur)

Different Times

Soapbox Orator (Sigurður Sveinbjörnsson)

Condensed Word of God (Sigurður Sigvaldason)

Balancing Act (Jón Mustard)

Metamorphosis? (Símon Dalaskáld)

Chain (Eyjólfur of Grímslækur)

Calm? (Gvendur dúllari)

Paradise Lost (Sigurður Sveinbjörnsson)

On Vacation (unidentified)


24 November 2000


4. Potential History

The Environment of Egodocuments

The Archive – Personal Expression

The Archive – Definition!

Heterotopia (Space) – Spaces of Otherness (No-Place)

Affirmative Humanities

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Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon is Professor of Cultural History and chair of the Department of History at the University of Iceland. He is also chair of the Center for Microhistorical Research.