Boxes: A Field Guide — Download this new book free

Mattering Press has published this quirky book, Boxes: A Field Guide edited by Susanne Bauer, Martina Schlünder, Maria Rentetzi. This is not a book that deals explicitly with archives, but it does raise some exciting questions about archival materiality, given we often first encounter archived papers via boxes. As the Mattering Press site observes:

“This book explores boxes in their broadest sense and size. It invites us to step into the field, unravel how and why things are contained and how it might be otherwise”. 

From the website:

“Gathered in the format of a field guide, it offers an introduction to ways of ordering the world, unpacking their boxed-up, largely invisible politics and epistemics. Performatively, pushing against conventional uses of academic books, this volume is about rethinking taken-for-granted formats and infrastructures of scholarly ordering – thinking, writing, reading. It diverges from encyclopedic logics and representative overviews of boxing practices and the architectural organization of monographs and edited volumes through a single, overarching argument”.

The following chapters may be of particular interest:

Navigation Tools for Studying Boxes: A User’s Manual
Susanne Bauer

Contesting the Box: Museums and Repatriation
Stewart Allen

Deep Time History: The Lure of the Black Box
Dagmar Schäfer

Cardboard Box: The Politics of Materiality
Maria Rentetzi

Guarding the Memory: Photographic Glass Plates Negatives’ Boxes
Mirka Palioura, Spyridoula Pyrpili, Myrto Vouleli

Reliquary: A Box for a Relic
Lucy Razzall

The Research Box
Bonnie Mak and Julia Pollack

The book can be purchased from Mattering Press or downloaded as a free PDF.

Word of warning: don’t hit the print button too quickly as the full book is over 600 pages in length!