Archives de catégorie : Research progress

The Philibert collection at the municipal library of Toulon: understanding the value of a heterogenous body of items

Since 1973, the city of Toulon has held a collection of documents and other items of exceptional richness for historians writing about the history of Algiers and, to a lesser extent, Algeria itself and even other parts of the Maghreb1. The purchase of these documents by Marcel Philibert, the last chairman of the Comité du Vieil Alger (Committee for Old Algiers, or CVA), involved more than 21,000 items of all kinds. This committee, which was very active from its foundation in 1905 to the independence of Algeria and which feverishly maintains itself as a European social network in Algeria thereafter, is better known thanks to the work of historians of heritage and architecture2.

Continuer la lecture de The Philibert collection at the municipal library of Toulon: understanding the value of a heterogenous body of items
  1. See a very synthetic presentation on the Toulon municipal library website (https://toulon.fr/envie-bouger/article/fonds-particuliers). I would like to thank all the workers of the Lagoubran annex and especially Véronique Gillain for the reception and the presentation of Philibert papers []
  2. OULEBSIR Nabila, Les usages du patrimoine. Monuments, musées et politique coloniale en Algérie (1830 – 1930), Paris, Éditions de la MSH, 2004, 411 p., p. 240 – 247 ; HUEBER Juliette, « Documenter le patrimoine et l’architecture d’Alger : les Feuillets d’El-Djezaïr », Architecture Beyond Europe, 13, 2018 [online] ; on the erosion of the CVA activities after independance, have a look to BRACCO Hélène, L’autre face des « Européens » en Algérie indépendante, Paris, Éditions Paris-Méditerranée, « Documents et témoignages », 1999, 223 p., p. 115 : « Même après l’indépendance, au cercle des amis du vieil Alger, on aurait aimé avoir des familles algériennes. Il y en a qui viennent à nos réunions, nos conférences, mais à peine une ou deux » (testimony of Miss Ch., borned in 1933). On the intellectual environment of Algiers university, see L’orientalisme en train de se faire. Une enquête collective dans les archives de René Basset, forthcoming at the EHESS Editions at spring 2021 (coordinated by M. Bossaert, A. Jomier and E. Szurek, with contributions from students, archivists and a librarian) and Margo Stemmelin current PhD (« Alger, capitale orientaliste ? Vie intellectuelle et culturelle en Algérie coloniale (1880 – 1930) », started in 2018). []

Algiers’ banking institutions: the example of the BNP Paribas archives

            Banking centres in cities, and especially colonial cities, have only very recently and tentatively been the subject of in-depth historical research[1]. In terms of the importance of both banks and the companies in which they are shareholders in the urban space, the field of historiographic possibilities is vast. Moreover, clearly re-situating and measuring urban investment in banks and their relationships with other figures (elected officials, owners and other, diverse notables) in colonial cities has been made possible by a recent crop of monographs on a range of institutions and figures[2].

Continuer la lecture de Algiers’ banking institutions: the example of the BNP Paribas archives

Progress in archival descriptions

The Croissance growth phase, into which the Archival City project moved in late 2020, will allow the archival inventory coordination site to continue the work of identifying pertinent archives for each of the seven areas of study, their description according to current standards, publication and recognition for the next two years.

Continuer la lecture de Progress in archival descriptions

The Importance of Administrative Directories as a Guide to Sources for the History of Grand Paris: The Example of 1885

Digitised, but not yet available online, the administrative directories of Paris and the département of the Seine held at the Archives de Paris, cover the period 1883-1980. As Elsa Camus’ research for Archival City has shown, using the complementary funds of the Library of the Hôtel de Ville we can go back to the days before, the Third Republic as two directories are referenced there for the years 1844 and 1850, plus a third for the year 1880. The first directory in the digitised collection, for 1883, is of limited interest for research into the history of Grand Paris (greater Paris). It contains only 83 pages and merely lists the main workers at the prefecture, without mentioning names, remits or addresses. The first truly useful directory for our research is the one published in 1885 by the Préfecture de la Seine and printed at the municipal printworks (document 1). The publication should be closely associated with the development of the Paris administration, under the auspices of prefect Eugène Poubelle (1883-1896). In fact, under his mandate the administrative directory was published regularly, under the title Personnel et attributions des services de la préfecture du département de la Seine et de la Ville de Paris (Personnel and their Remits of the Departments of the Prefecture of the Département of the Seine and the City of Paris).

Continuer la lecture de The Importance of Administrative Directories as a Guide to Sources for the History of Grand Paris: The Example of 1885

Archives and the history of urban pollution: framework elements

Why choose this subject? There is barely anything original in holding a workshop around the theme of pollution in 2020, the subject has been on the environmental history agenda for several decades now. In France, the publication in 2002 of the outcome of the Clermont-Ferrand symposium on pollution in urban and industrial societies[1], followed by the defence of Geneviève Massard-Guilbaud[2]‘s research, is a good indicator of historians’ interest in a social history of pollution in the industrial age, an interest which had already produced isolated initiatives here and there, mainly focused on city-dwellers’ sensitivity to disturbance expressed through petitions, letters and 19th century investigation files[3]. In the English-speaking world, the work of historians Martin Melosi[4] and Joel Tarr[5] on pollution goes back to the 1990s, the time of classic works such as [6] The Search for the Ultimate Sink and The Sanitary City[7]

Continuer la lecture de Archives and the history of urban pollution: framework elements

The Great Paris in the Past

This video is taken from a presentation by Emile Blettery and Paul Lecat at Futures Days in November 2019. It presents the research work of the Seine 54 project, which aims at aggregating census data from the Seine department with the IGN’s aerial photography collection.
The presentation focuses in particular on the digitisation of data, the construction of a database and geographic information system, the georeferencing of aerial photographs and the development of the data covisualisation tool.
These data are then used in a case study on the shantytowns of Nanterre.

Report of the survey in wua Lai neighbourhood

Ordinary city mapping and architectural survey in Wua Lai neighbourhood, Chiang Mai

In the framework of Archival City project, our approach to documenting the ordinary city of Chiang Mai relies on the pedagogical trainings, notably on the Studio of Master’s degree « Heritage/Tourism, Contemporaneity/Development » which associates ENSA Paris-Belleville, Faculty of architecture of University of Chiang Mai, Faculty of architecture of Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok). The field workshop of this studio, organised each year on December in Chiang Mai since 2011, is an opportunity to produce the documents on Wua Lai neighbourhood, our case study. The archive of Wua Lai is an integral part of our corpus of study.

Continuer la lecture de Report of the survey in wua Lai neighbourhood

Explanatory note for the future digital tools

The first year Emergence revealed the great diversity of situations and types of archives according to the projects. This observation was the starting point for a reflection on the convergence of problematics in a context of profound transformation of the uses and practices of the public: in the age of the Internet, access to information is supposed to be available and immediate. We asked ourselves about the method of data processing and description to meet the scientific needs of the projects as well as how to make them accessible to the public through different tools and representations. Our objective was therefore to define how to implement cultural and technical interoperability.

Continuer la lecture de Explanatory note for the future digital tools