Illuminating their breadth and diversity, this book presents a comprehensive and multidisciplinary view of legal documents and their manifold forms, uses, materialities and meanings. In 1951, Suzanne Briet, a librarian at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, famously said that an antelope in a zoo could be a document, thereby radically changing the way documents were analysed and understood. In the fifty years since this pronouncement, the digital age has introduced a potentially limitless range of digital and technological forms for the capture and storage of information. In their multiplicity and their ubiquity, documents pervade our everyday life. However, the material, intellectual, aesthetic and political dimensions and effects of documents remain difficult to pin down. Taking a multidisciplinary and international approach, this collection tackles the question, what is a legal document?, in order to explore the material, aesthetic and intellectual attributes of legal documentation; the political and colonial orders reflected and embedded in documents; and the legal, archival and social systems which order and utilise information. As well as scholars in law, documentary theory, history, Indigenous studies, art history and design theory and practice, this book will also appeal to those working in libraries, archives, galleries and museums, for whom the ongoing challenges of documentation in the digital age are urgent and timely questions.
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