By Ann Laura Stoler
Alongside the Archival Grain bargains a distinct methodological and analytic starting to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content material of archival kinds. 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 belief and perform, revealing the tricky racial ontologies of that burdened epistemic area. Navigating common and impressive paths throughout 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 no longer what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred while what they inspiration they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the concept that archival exertions 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 impression, and never least as a vibrant area to do ethnography.
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Additional info for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense
See John David Morley, “Warped by Empire,” New York Times Book Review (9 June 1996), and Christopher GoGwilt, “Pramoedya’s Fiction and History: An Interview with Indonesian Novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer,” Yale Journal of Criticism 9 (l) 1996: 147–64. 4 The Pulse of the Archive • 19 “documents are more reliable . . 6 Regimes of ofﬁcial documentation in his account are inert remnants, iconic roadmaps to regimes of domination that warp the integrity of the best of men. Such closed-circuited regimes of impoverished testimony produce their experts who in turn produce them.
Some commission reports were searingly detailed; some were impressionistic and abstract. Vignettes about the unnamed and anecdotes of the everyday established the truth-claims of local ofﬁcials, their local knowledge and ethnographic authority. Such commissions, as we shall see in chapter 5, were also consummate producers of social kinds. The European Pauperism Commission of 1901 reassigned clusters of people for state scrutiny and in so doing revised and overwrote what was to count in ascriptions of race.
31 Those commissions, like the European Pauperism Commission or the South African Carnegie Commission on Poor Whites thirty years later, explicitly linked domestic relationships—between parent and child, nursemaid and infant—to the security of the state. Relations between people and objects—to clothing, furnishings, room arrangements, and window-openings—were invoked, as well. Eyewitness testimonies to intimacies of the home had become data of a particular kind, critical to the state’s audit of its commitment to the public good, to racial differentiation, and to its own viability.