Download e-book for kindle: Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial by Ann Laura Stoler

By Ann Laura Stoler

Alongside the Archival Grain deals a distinct methodological and analytic establishing to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content material of archival types. In a chain of nuanced mediations at the nature of colonial files from the nineteenth-century Netherlands Indies, Ann Laura Stoler identifies the social epistemologies that guided notion and perform, revealing the not easy racial ontologies of that pressured epistemic area. Navigating widespread and striking paths during the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments whilst good judgment failed and winning different types not appeared to paintings. She asks no longer what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred whilst what they concept they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the suggestion that archival exertions be approached as an extractive company, Stoler units her attractions on archival creation as a consequential act of governance, as a box of strength with violent impact, and never least as a vibrant house to do ethnography.

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Extra info for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense

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Rather, these chapters pause at the hands and habits of those charged with the writing, recording, sorting, and proliferation of documents, in the unremarkable forms in which writerly practices appeared; in the tone and tenor of a reprimand, a dismissal, or praise, in floridly clear or illegible signatures at the bottom of a neatly copied page. Sometimes persons become visible in the entitled scrawls of an angry query across a report, or remain invisible in the faceless, careful handwriting of “copy machines” (as Eurasian clerks were disparagingly called)—subjects whose racially marked positions conferred no place for, nor right to, a signature at all.

In chapter 6, I refer to these as elements that make up a “hierarchy of credibility,” scales of trust that measured what forms of witness, words and deeds, could be taken as reliably relevant. But these hierarchies too are sometimes inverted. In the brutal immediacy of a murder, in the panic of an impeding attack, in the anxious rush to fulfill a superior’s demand for information (and for proof of one’s 24 • Chapter Two vigilance), in the concerted effort to ward off disaster, words could slip from their safe moorings to reappear unauthorized, inappropriate, and unrehearsed.

Duke University Press, 2003), 111–40. Attention to how states shape and efface personal memories has placed emphasis on how those alternative accounts are retained as preserved possibilities for future claims and political projects. 43 If every document comes layered with the received account of earlier events and the cultural semantics of a political moment, the issue of official “bias” opens to a different challenge: to identify the conditions of possibility that shaped what warranted repetition, what competencies were rewarded in archival writing, what stories could not be told and what could not be said.

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