ALONG THE ARCHIVAL GRAIN, epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense

: Stoler (A.)

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316pp., illus., maps, paperback, Princeton, 2009


"A stunningly attractive book that reads like a great novel. Ann Laura Stoler provides a model of the new historiography rich in the historical, anthropological, and psychoanalytical insights demanded by the newly theorized subjects of history. Reading with the grain of the archive provides a way of realizing Walter Benjamin's injunction to read against the grain of history." Hayden White, Stanford University

"Archives are foundational for all historians, although they are rarely the objects of study. Ann Stoler has brilliantly succeeded in capturing the broader ethnographic and theoretical registers of the Dutch colonial archive in this long-awaited book. Offering an eloquent and probing reflection, Stoler discloses how the archive is the principal site of the contradictions and anxieties of empire, the repository of hidden and contested knowledge of and about the European colonizer." Nicholas B. Dirks, Columbia University

"This is an original, ambitious, excellently researched, sensitive, and smart book. Stoler's longstanding, intensive scholarly engagement with these archives makes for an especially rich and nuanced understanding of the particular ontologies of Dutch colonial rule that emerge by reading closely 'along the archival grain.' Equally important, this engagement allows her to reflect powerfully on the nature and import of archival production more generally." Patricia Spyer, Leiden University

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.