'Unearthing' the 'essential' past: The making of a public 'national' memory through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 1994-1998
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At a lecture presented in London on June 5, 1994, Jacques Derrida discussed the complexities of the meaning of the archive. He described the duality in meaning of the word archive-in terms of temporality and spatiality-as a place of "commencement" and as the place "where men and gods command" or the ''place from which order is given". As the place of commencement, "there where things commence" the archive is more ambivalent. It houses, what could best be described as 'traces" of particular objects of the past in the form of documents. These documents were produced in the past and are subjective constructions with their own histories of negotiations and contestations. As such, the archive represents the end of instability, or the outcome of negotiations and contestations over knowledge. Yet as sources of evidence the archive also represents the moment of ending instability, of creating stasis and the fixing of meaning and knowledge.