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Along the Archival Grainoffers 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.
Contending that social classification is not a benign cultural act but a potent political one, Stoler shows that matters of the intimate were absolutely central to imperial politics. Stoler looks discerningly at the way cultural competencies and sensibilities entered into the construction of race in the colonial context and proposes that "cultural racism" predates its postmodern discovery.
A milestone in U. S. historiography, Haunted by Empire brings postcolonial critiques to bear on North American history and draws on that history to question the analytic conventions of postcolonial studies. The contributors to this innovative collection examine the critical role of "domains of the intimate" in the consolidation of colonial power. They demonstrate how the categories of difference underlying colonialism--the distinctions advanced as the justification for the colonizer's rule of the colonized--were enacted and reinforced in intimate realms from the bedroom to the classroom to the medical examining room. Together the essays focus attention on the politics of comparison--on how colonizers differentiated one group or set of behaviors from another--and on the circulation of knowledge and ideologies within and between imperial projects. Ultimately, this collection forces a rethinking of what historians choose to compare and of the epistemological grounds on which those choices are based. Haunted by Empire includes Ann Laura Stoler's seminal essay "Tense and Tender Ties" as well as her bold introduction, which carves out the exciting new analytic and methodological ground animated by this comparative venture. The contributors engage in a lively cross-disciplinary conversation, drawing on history, anthropology, literature, philosophy, and public health. They address such topics as the regulation of Hindu marriages and gay sexuality in the early-twentieth-century United States; the framing of multiple-choice intelligence tests; the deeply entangled histories of Asian, African, and native peoples in the Americas; the racial categorizations used in the 1890 U. S. census; and the politics of race and space in French colonial New Orleans. Linda Gordon, Catherine Hall, and Nancy F. Cott each provide a concluding essay reflecting on the innovations and implications of the arguments advanced in Haunted by Empire. Contributors. Warwick Anderson, Laura Briggs, Kathleen Brown, Nancy F. Cott, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Linda Gordon, Catherine Hall, Martha Hodes, Paul A. Kramer, Lisa Lowe, Tiya Miles, Gwenn A. Miller, Emily S. Rosenberg, Damon Salesa, Nayan Shah, Alexandra Minna Stern, Ann Laura Stoler, Laura Wexler
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