By Ann Laura Stoler
Alongside the Archival Grain deals a different methodological and analytic starting to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content material of archival kinds. In a sequence of nuanced mediations at the nature of colonial files from the nineteenth-century Netherlands Indies, Ann Laura Stoler identifies the social epistemologies that guided belief and perform, revealing the difficult racial ontologies of that pressured epistemic house. Navigating generic and notable paths throughout the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments whilst good judgment failed and winning different types now not appeared to paintings. She asks now not what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred whilst what they inspiration they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the concept that archival exertions be approached as an extractive firm, Stoler units her points of interest on archival construction as a consequential act of governance, as a box of strength with violent impression, and never least as a vibrant house to do ethnography.
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Extra resources for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense
The Raad van Indië, the elite advisory board to the Governor-General, often emerges with a premier role in making decisions that the Governor-General on his own could or would not. Events in Deli also take us into the relationships between the Dutch military corps and the civil service through correspondence that underscores their divergent assessments of danger and how poor and haphazard their communications were. The story of Frans Carl Valck’s failed career produces another extended colonial archive of its own.
Its threshold of existence is established by the discontinuity that separate us from what we can no longer say. —Michel Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge In this book, ethnographic sites emerge in the space between prescription and practice, but more pointedly elsewhere. 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.
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. 24 Systems of written accountability called for elaborate infrastructures. Paper trails of weekly reports to superiors, summaries of reports of reports, and recommendations based on reports all called for systematic coding systems by which they could be tracked.
Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense by Ann Laura Stoler
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