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Decolonising the Archive (BISC)

Image of old papers in an archive

This course aims to give students archive research skills via training and visits to sites such as the Mass Observation Archive Home ( (Sussex), Home - The Keep (Sussex County Archive), Black Cultural Archives (Brixton) and National Archive The National Archives, Kew | The National Archives (Kew).

  • Students will choose a topic to research and set a research question with the instructor on a theme related to colonisation/decolonisation.
  • The instructor and archive staff will offer training in archival research. Named archives are close enough to allow repeated visits
  • Focus on bottom up history, experiences of ordinary people in C19th and C20th
  • Students must also interrogate the history, construction, access to the archives they are working in to create a read of their unspoken ideology
  • They will consider the implications of the increasing importance of digital/digitised archives
  • Finally, students create their own small digital archive from the sources they gather for their research topic: online sources, primary sources, scholarly sources, databases, blogs, etc. They must provide commentary on this process, to demonstrate their awareness of archival politics 
  • Overall intention that students will become more conscious of their role as aware, active historians/citizens


Please Note that this course is being offered only at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) based at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.