By Ann Laura Stoler
Alongside the Archival Grain bargains a distinct methodological and analytic commencing to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content material of archival types. In a sequence of nuanced mediations at the nature of colonial records from the nineteenth-century Netherlands Indies, Ann Laura Stoler identifies the social epistemologies that guided conception and perform, revealing the complicated racial ontologies of that stressed epistemic area. Navigating typical and awesome paths during the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments whilst good judgment failed and winning different types not looked as if it would paintings. She asks no longer what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred while what they notion they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the idea that archival exertions be approached as an extractive company, Stoler units her points of interest on archival creation as a consequential act of governance, as a box of strength with violent influence, and never least as a bright area to do ethnography.
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Extra info for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Commonsense
Critique emerges in the interstices of what goes without saying and what should not be said: sometimes documents referred to those who parodied commonsense conventions. As we shall see, the “dirty secrets” of Sumatra’s planters were in classiﬁed missives not because the planters’ abuses of their laboring populations were not known, but precisely because they were not to be acknowledged and aired by an “inept” civil servant like Frans Carl Valck. 23 Andrew Ashforth has strongly stated 1___ 0___ 1___ 20 AR, KV 28 March 1874, no.
Public access to state statistics was a nineteenth-century phenomenon. D. , Stanford University, 1996, 50. 22 Fredrick Barth, Ritual and Knowledge among the Baktaman of New Guinea (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), 217. I thank Maurice Bloch for this reference. 23 On this point, see Michel Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon, 1995). On the relationship between state-formation and archival production, see Michel Duchein, “The History of European Archives and the Development of the Archival Profession in Europe,” American Archivist 55 (Winter 1992): 14–25.
I look for the pulse of the archive in the quiescence and quickened pace of its own production, in the steady and feverish rhythms of repeated incantations, formulae, and frames. I pursue it through the uneven densities of Dutch archival preoccupations and predicaments: where energies were expended, what conditioned the designation of an event, what visions were generated in the pursuit of prediction, which social groups garnered concern and then did not. One of those densities, not surprisingly, thickens around social categories themselves.
Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Commonsense by Ann Laura Stoler