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 types. 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 not easy racial ontologies of that burdened epistemic area. Navigating regular and notable paths during the lettered lives of these who governed, she seizes on moments while logic failed and winning different types now not appeared to paintings. She asks now not what colonial brokers knew, yet what occurred whilst what they idea they knew they discovered they didn't. Rejecting the thought that archival hard work 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 shiny area to do ethnography.
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Additional resources for Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense
Duke University Press, 2002), 47–65. : Heineman, 1992); Richard Price, The Convict and the Colonel (Boston: Beacon, 1998). See also Axel, esp. 1–44. : Duke University Press, 2008). On the nature of “documentary government,” see Keith Breckenridge’s insightful essays, “From Hubris to Chaos: The Making of the Bewsyuro and the End of Documentary Government” and “Flesh Made Words: Fingerprinting and the Archival Imperative in the Union of South Africa, 1900–1930,” paper presented at the History and African Studies Seminar, History Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, 2 October 2001.
Too lowly to be acknowledged, his “ﬁndings” are too sensitive to be preserved. ” Burned as soon as it is read, it is reduced to “dust and smoke”—an archive that is to remain in darkness. House of Glass is the name Pangemanann gives to his report but “house of glass” references a more fundamentally disquieting space in the colonial imaginary—at once the fragile security of the Dutch police state and the false security of Europeans living nestled in it. The quest for affective knowledge—that which moves people to feel and act—was the coveted pursuit of state intelligence yet beyond its grasp.
Such confusions and “asides” work in and around prevailing narratives as they push on the archive’s storied edges. 14 But the paper trails left by European colonial projects could never be sealed that tight; not in the Indies, where magazines, pamphlets, journals, and dailies both pilfered from the ofﬁcial record and were made an evidentiary part of it. 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.