It is the other way around. Essentialized constructions of people and places are mobilized through the archive and toxics of exclusion.
The symptom of toxicity in the archive begins with exclusion which produces gaps and emptiness. The overrepresentation of particular people and ideas are utilized to create history through a bias lens, imposing a kind of toxic violence.
Women, and people of color have historically been marginalized from being included in the archive. Peoples and communities have also been misrepresented through the archive which often leads to biased representation.
This place is being re-thought because of the hegemonic notions it produces of particular peoples and places. There has been a movement toward interrogating the archive, learning to read between the spaces, one particular form is through speculative history through the traces left to work with. While subaltern studies acknowledged early on these power dynamics of the archive, some scholars more recently have taken the political move to disrupt the hegemonic practices of producing history through the archive.
One perception is in its literal sense of a place where it is imagined as a stable source of knowledge. Much of history has been produced through this understanding, and many still consider the archive to "speak for itself" without acknowledging the inherent biases, neglect, and erasure that occurs through archiving. More critical views of the archive acknowledge these power dynamics and are attempting to grapple with the silences and spaces.
The archive can be viewed as a literal place in the sense that these materials are stored in physical and digital archives. The use of "archive" for this essay is more of an imagined place of the totality of archives.