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 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 careworn epistemic house. Navigating regularly occurring and striking paths throughout the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments while logic failed and triumphing different types now not appeared to paintings. She asks no longer what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred whilst what they proposal they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the inspiration that archival exertions be approached as an extractive firm, 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 area to do ethnography.
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Alongside the Archival Grain deals a distinct methodological and analytic commencing to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content material of archival types. 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 challenging racial ontologies of that careworn epistemic area.
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Extra resources for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense
Political summaries, published colonial statistics, and contemporary articles in newspapers and journals in the Indies and in the Netherlands responded to the ofﬁcial record, as chapter 4 on colonial commissions attests. Journalists and literati were active during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and they boldly critiqued the autocratic nature of the colonial administration, as well. 18 I draw more fully on articles in the press and elsewhere where they butted up against the common sense of the colonial administration to show just how uncommon that sense was.
22 Not least they invite disclosure. 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 Adam Ashforth has strongly stated 20 AR, KV 28 March 1874, no.
This is the ethnographic space of the colonial archives, where truthclaims compete, impervious or fragile, crushed by the weight of convention or resilient in the immediate threat of the everyday; where trust is put to the test and credibility wavers. Here I linger over unspoken orders of rubric and reference that did more than deﬁne plausible evidence. Speciﬁc if not unique to the shape of these colonial archives is a racialized common sense about people and places—about Javanese coolies and Acehnese insurgents, about the sensibilities of the Indische population, Indies-born and -bred Dutch versus imported, transient, and echte Europeans.