Declining Derrida: Integrity, Tensegrity, and the Preservation of Archives from Deconstruction

  • Brien Brothman


Among philosophers, none has shown more interest in the concept of archives than deconstructionist Jacques Derrida. Yet archivists have virtually ignored his work. This essay offers three reasons for this neglect, and then proposes that the relationship between deconstruction and archival practice is best described as one of simultaneous tension and intimacy.


Jacques Derrida est parmi les philosophes de la « déconstruction » qui a le plus démontré d’intérêt pour le concept d’archives. Jusqu’à présent, les archivistes ont ignoré ses travaux. Cet essai présente trois raisons justifiant cette négligence. Il soutien de plus que la relation entre « déconstruction » et pratique archivistique se décrit lemieux par un rapport simultané de tension et d’intimité.

Author Biography

Brien Brothman
For many years, Brien Brothman worked at the National Archives of Canada, where he was responsible for textual and electronic records documenting environmental, scientific, and engineering research programs. Since moving to the United States in 1995, he has taught courses on archival appraisal and on electronic record keeping at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and done archival consulting. Most recently, he has been working at the Rhode Island State Archives and Public Records Administration on the development of an electronic records program. Brien has a BA (History) from McGill University and a PhD (History) from Université Laval. His latest publications include a chapter entitled "Archives and New Information and Communications Regimes in Science," to appear in the forthcoming book on electronic records practices at the National Archives of Canada (edited by Terry Cook), and articles concerning the relationship between the concepts of "evidence" and "record," and postmodernism and keeping electronic records.
How to Cite
Brothman, Brien. 1999. “Declining Derrida: Integrity, Tensegrity, and the Preservation of Archives from Deconstruction”. Archivaria 48 (February), 64-88.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>