Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 2001. “Of Time, Space, and the History of Sociology: Methodological Rules in Archives and Archival Research.” Pp. 326-336 in Mirrors and Windows: Essays in the History of Sociology, edited by Janusz Mucha, Dirk Käsler, and W»odzimierz Winclawski. Torun (Poland): Nicholas Copernicus University Press.


Copyright 2001 Michael R. Hill


The "archival turn" that characterizes much new and recent work in the disciplinary history of sociology is institutionally situated and replete with professional obligations and scholarly expectations, some less visible than others. Unlike our colleagues in academic departments of history, we are relative newcomers to archives and their riches. Pandora-like, enough sociologists have now opened the archival door to make this a propitious moment to reflect methodologically on what we are doing when we ask archival questions and report archival discoveries. This essay invites our corporate consideration of three vital features of archival research into the history of sociology: (1) the status of our purchase on empirical reality; (2) the tension between exclusivity and inclusiveness in the disciplinary patterns we document; and (3) the moral imperative to be reflexive about - and responsible for - the future consequences of research into our past disciplinary activities.