#030 – Archives and Temporality in the 19th century

with Sina Steglich

J. W. M. Turner, Rain, steam, and speed (1844, Wikimedia Commons)

In the 19th century, technological innovations brought about new conceptions of time. The idea of modernity redefined the contemporaries’ relationship with the past. State institutions began a systematic reorganization of their archives, which started to function as the main repository of historical traces for scholars. At the same time, these sites were visited by broader population segments out of curiosity, familial matters, or simply a genuine fascination for past documents. In this episode, we discuss the interrelation of archives and temporality in Europe through the eyes of historians and state institutions.


Sina Steglich is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute London. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Mannheim in 2018 with a dissertation on the history of archival times in Fin-de-Siècle Europe. Her current postdoctoral project is entitled Nomadism as a Discursive Figure of Modernity. Her research interests include the history of time(s), archival history, the history of historiography as well as theory and methodology of history (especially intellectual and conceptual history).

Sina’s new book is entitled Zeitort Archiv – Etablierung und Vermittlung geschichtlicher Zeitlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert (The Archive as Chronotype: The establishment and the diffusion of historical temporality in the 19th century), Campus Verlag, 2020.


To cite this episode:  Steglich, Sina; Guidi, Andreas (2020): Archives and Temporality in the 19th century. The Southeast Passage #030, 22.04.2020, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/steglich-archives-temporality


– Scherzo No 1 – F.Chopin (performed by N. Di Napoli)

Exzel Music Publishing (freemusicpublicdomain.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

– Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9 no. 2 – F. Chopin (performed by V. Chaimovich)


Further reading:

Anderson, Benedict: Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, New York, NY 2006.

Bakhtin, Mikhail: Forms of Time and the Chronotope in the Novel, in: Ibid.: The Dialogic Imagination, Austin, TX 1981, pp. 84-258.

Barak, On: On Time. Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt, Berkeley, CA 2013.

Bauman, Zygmunt: Modernity and Ambivalence, Cambridge et al 1993.

Conrad, Sebastian: „Nothing is the Way it Should be.“ Global Transformation of the Time Regime in the Nineteenth Century, in: Modern Intellectual History 15 (2018), pp. 821-848.

Eskildsen, Kasper Risbjerg: Leopold von Ranke’s Archival Turn. Location and Evidence in Modern Historiography, in: Modern Intellectual History 5 (2008), pp. 425-453.

Farge, Arlette: The Allure of the Archives, New Haven, CN 2013.

Fritzsche, Peter: Stranded in the Present. Modern Time and the Melancholy of History, Cambridge, MA, London 2004.

Landwehr, Achim: Die anwesende Abwesenheit der Vergangenheit. Essay zur Geschichtstheorie, Frankfurt am Main 2016.

Steglich, Sina: Vom Sichern der Zeit und Zeigen der Geschichte. Zum Archiv als Zeitgeber des Fin de Siècle, in: Historische Zeitschrift 305 (2017), pp. 689-716.

Steglich, Sina: Zeitort Archiv. Etablierung und Vermittlung geschichtlicher Zeitlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert (=Historische Studien, Bd. 79), Frankfurt am Main, New York 2020.

Tamm, Marek/Laurent Olivier (Eds.): Rethinking Historical Time. New Approaches to Presentism, London et al 2019.

Wishnitzer, Avner: Reading Clocks, Alla Turca. Time and Society in the late Ottoman Empire, Chicago, IL, London 2015.



Delannoy, Le Musée des Archives de l’Empire (Université Paris Descartes)


Paris, National Archives (Photo by Sina Steglich)



The Southeast Passage
The Southeast Passage
#030 - Archives and Temporality in the 19th century