By Ann Laura Stoler
Alongside the Archival Grain deals a special methodological and analytic starting to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content material of archival varieties. 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 conception and perform, revealing the troublesome racial ontologies of that stressed epistemic area. Navigating commonplace and notable paths in the course of the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments while good judgment failed and triumphing different types now not looked as if it would paintings. She asks now not what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred whilst what they proposal they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the suggestion that archival hard work be approached as an extractive company, Stoler units her attractions on archival construction 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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Additional info for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense
They trace practices gathered into intelligible forms. 45 They might also register how new social categories gained relevance as they annulled designations no longer sufﬁcient to make the distinctions relevant to current reformist projects. In the successive waves of 44 On “social etymology” in the analysis of imperial formations, see Ann Laura Stoler and Carole McGranahan, “Reﬁguring Imperial Terrains,” in Imperial Formations, ed.
Here an image of house-breaking might better be joined with house arrest to more vividly capture what those in command feared (as much as native insurgence)—that their houses of glass might be shattered by “inside” jobs: by civil servants improperly schooled in what not to see or say, as was Assistent Resident of Deli, Frans Carl Valck, who is center stage in chapters 6 and 7; by recalcitrant Indo-Europeans who refused to answer a state commission on their domestic and sexual affairs, as shall be seen in chapter 5; and by the unseemly action of the colony’s most respected city fathers, European high ofﬁcials described in chapter 3 who, in protesting government policy, circulated documents and directives meant only for their rariﬁed readings and well-trained ears.
And trans. Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon, 1980), 82–83. The Pulse of the Archive • 21 occasions to rehearse common sense or share their views on what it meant to be Dutch, on what they thought of concubinage across racial lines, or on what they imagined were the attributes of “mixed blood” children and the nature of their moral character. Along with the surefooted views on policies by which we have come to identify colonial enterprises are the remnants of writerly practices of a very different kind: those that chronicle failed projects, delusional imaginings, equivocal explanations of unanticipated outbursts of distrust directed toward a state apparatus on which European comforts would so precariously depend.