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Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial by Ann Laura Stoler

By Ann Laura Stoler

Alongside the Archival Grain bargains a special 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 records from the nineteenth-century Netherlands Indies, Ann Laura Stoler identifies the social epistemologies that guided belief and perform, revealing the not easy racial ontologies of that stressed epistemic area. Navigating universal and remarkable paths in the course of the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments whilst good judgment failed and triumphing different types not looked as if it would paintings. She asks now not what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred whilst what they suggestion they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the proposal that archival hard work 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 area to do ethnography.

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

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Conventions also suggest familiarity and durability. I take them instead as moving targets and, sometimes, so did those in office themselves. Irony and humor are not lacking, mockery targets those who are too literal or not literal enough. ” Stock phrases took on different political import depending on where they were placed. Contexts of relevance rapidly changed. References to the need for European nurseries might seem unremarkable in lengthy reports on education but offer striking openings to political thinking when colonial administrators obsessed over them in classified documents elsewhere: in a commission on European pauperism, in recommendations to quell creole discontent, in debates over mixed bloods “too proud” to learn manual labor.

Veth, 1814–1895 (Leiden: Balans, 2000); Ahmat B. Adam, The Vernacular Press and the Emergence of the Modern Indonesian Consciousness (1855–1913) (Ithaca: SEAP, 1995); and, for a later period, W. A. van Oorschot, 1971). Prologue in Two Parts • 15 I draw on newspapers simply to show how widely state “secrets” were shared. Sometimes the borders that define the “official” and the “non-official” are hard to trace. Government civil servants wrote newspaper articles based on material culled from official records to which the public was not supposed to have access.

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. Relations of family and friends among the richest sugar barons and highest-placed administrators show through in moments of crisis, in requests for exceptional treatment, on vacations, and in the deadening calm of forced retirement.

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