Archival Practice as Creation of the Self. The Case of Bronisława Kopczyńska-Jaworska’s Personal Research Archive


Constructing the personal archive mainly consists of a selection process followed (although one is not possible without the other) by the act of integrating the materials into a collection to form a specific image of one’s achievements, vision of reality, and the twists and turns of fate. The archive, after all, “has both ‘façade’ and ‘underside’ in a dual sense, in that it inevitably alludes to what it includes and leaves out.” Spending time with such a collection is even more remarkable if you know the person who put it together with their own hands, driven by their own motives. I have been fortunate enough to accumulate this experience as witness, reader, and scholar of the archive of an ethnographer I knew personally. The archives I have in mind are the papers collected and organized by ethnology professor Bronisława Kopczyńska-Jaworska – my mentor.