Along the Archival Grain offers a unique methodological and analytic opening to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content of archival forms. In a series of nuanced mediations on the nature of colonial documents from the nineteenth-century Netherlands Indies, Ann Laura Stoler identifies the social epistemologies that guided perception and practice, revealing the problematic racial ontologies of that confused epistemic space. Navigating familiar and extraordinary paths through the lettered lives of those who ruled, she seizes on moments when common sense failed and prevailing categories no longer seemed to work. She asks not what colonial agents knew, but what happened when what they thought they knew they found they did not. Rejecting the notion that archival labor be approached as an extractive enterprise, Stoler sets her sights on archival production as a consequential act of governance, as a field of force with violent effect, and not least as a vivid space to do ethnography.
Ann Laura Stoler is the Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research. Her books include "Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power" and "Race and the Education of Desire".
List of Illustrations ix Appreciations xi Chapter One: Prologue in Two Parts 1 Chapter Two: The Pulse of the Archive 17 Part I: Colonial Archives and Their Affective States 55 Chapter Three: Habits of a Colonial Heart 57 Chapter Four: Developing Historical Negatives 105 Chapter Five: Commissions and Their Storied Edges 141 Part II: Watermarks in Colonial History 179 Chapter Six: Hierarchies of Credibility 181 Chapter Seven: Imperial Dispositions of Disregard 237 Appendix 1: Colonial Chronologies 279 Appendix 2: Governors-General in the Netherlands Indies, 1830-1930 285 Bibliography 287 Index 309