Course date

16 July - 27 July, 2001
Application deadline
15 February, 2001
Course Director(s): 

Gabriella Ivacs

Open Society Archives, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Charles Kecskemeti

International Council on Archives, Paris, France
Course Faculty: 

Kirill Anderson

Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, Moscow, Russian Federation

J.E. Haynes

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, USA

Patricia Kennedy Grimsted

Writer, Independent Researcher, Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, United States of America

Edward Kolodziej

Archives of Modern Records, Warsaw, Poland

Klaus Oldenhage

Bundesarchiv, Kobelnz, Germany

Denis Peschanski

Centre for Social History of the 20th Century, Sorbonne University, Paris, France

Zoltan Ripp

Institute for Political History, Budapest, Hungary

Ivan Szekely

Open Society Archives, Central European University/ Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary

The course provides a kind of continuation of last year’s very successful "Access to Information" by focusing on the documentary heritage of political parties. Preserving and making such documentation available for research is part of the historical process of opening up the past and also understanding recent history, especially the political character of the one party system.

The course offers the possibility for participants to become acquainted with the existing legislative models, including both West and Central-East European solutions, which can guarantee the distinction between public and private information generated by political parties. It also examines the pitfalls of archival legislation by confronting legislative measures and practical archival considerations.

Besides the theoretical framework, the course wants to narrow the topic to the archives of the former communist parties because the use and interpretation of such resources still requires careful consideration. It should be noted that source criticism cannot stop at the national level but the "network" of Communist Parties", taking into consideration the relations with western communist movements as well, has to be assessed as a whole.

The structural analysis of the archives of the Communist Parties and organisations could help in developing a new approach to understanding the operational rules that secured the leadership of the CPSU within the world communist movement from the 1920s on and within the "Socialist block" from 1945 to 1989.

Without being too ambitious the course only covers the archival problems relating to party archives rather than studying the history of communism and Communist Parties.

Course level, target audience
Due to its interdisciplinary nature the course is not strictly designed for archivists. It does not require advanced knowledge of archival administration because its focus more on the content of the archives, and how historical research can rely on such documentation. Historians, political scientists, librarians and journalists are also expected to consider party archives in the broader context of politics and history.