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Archival practice and recovery have been foundational to feminist criticism and theory, and continue to be advocated by those who perceive, with dissatisfaction, ongoing gender disparities within the broadly inclusive mandate of the new modernist studies. Starting with the supposition that taxonomy is somatic, this chapter explores the long, complex history of the categorised body in relation to the archives of Mina Loy and Anna Mendelssohn. Modernist and late modernist respectively, Loy and Mendelssohn were British, Jewish, and feminist; both worked productively from the margins of male avant-garde kinship groups. Excision from or discomfort with identificatory labels are abiding themes of their literature, truths highly evident in their conflicted, archived writings on artistry and parenting, which challenge and contort stereotypical classification. In tandem with Loy’s and Mendelssohn’s taxonomic ambivalence, this essay posits a generative interstitiality that reworks archival frameworks and categories alike.
This thematic issue of Itinerario brings together a selection of papers presented at the international conference Beyond the Islamicate Chancery: Archives, Paperwork, and Textual Encounters across Eurasia, which was held at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in early October 2018. The conference was the third instalment in a series of collaborations between the Institute of Iranian Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Pittsburgh examining Islamicate cultures of documentation from different angles. Surviving precolonial and colonial chancery archives across Eurasia provide an unparalleled glimpse into the inner workings of connectivity across writing cultures and, especially, documentary practices. This particular meeting has attempted to situate what has traditionally been a highly technical discipline in a broader historical dialogue on the relationship between state power, the archive, and cultural encounters.
Cui bono information and record keeping? In his most recent work devoted to the study of British and French imperialism in the Levant in early modern history, Cornel Zwierlein has argued that “empires are built on ignorance.” It is, of course, true that during the old regime Western knowledge of things “Oriental” was patently defective, marked as it was by blind spots and glaring gaps; and if observed in the broader context of European colonialism in Asia, the British and French cases are hardly exceptional. Sanjay Subrahmanyam's Europe's India has shown compellingly that the Portuguese, too, blindly forged ahead in their imperial expansion into South Asia, with a good dose of improvisation. By focusing on a mission to Khiva, Bukhara, and Balkh in 1732, I set out to show that the Russian venture in Asia too was premised upon ignorance, among other things. More specifically, I argue that diplomatic and commercial relations between Russia and Central Asia developed in parallel with the neglect of intelligence gathered and made available in imperial archives. Reflecting on the fact that the Russian enterprise in Asia was minimally dependent on information allows us to complicate the reductive equation of knowledge to power, which originates from the “archival turn.” Many today regard archives as reflective of projects of documentation, which granted epistemological virtue to the texts stored, ordered, and preserved therein. The archives generated truth claims, we are told, about hierarchies of knowledge produced by states and, by doing so, they effectively operated as a technological apparatus bolstering the state. However, not all the texts which we find in archives always retained their pristine epistemic force. To historicise the uses, misuses, and, more importantly, the practices of purposeful neglect of records invites us to revisit the quality of transregional connectivity across systems of signification in the early modern period.
The scholarly discussion of archives in the premodern Islamicate world is beset by problematic generalisations. Such a view to some degree stems from a top-down view of archiving that focuses on state archives at the expense of practices of archiving occurring outside a chancery context. This article challenges the assumptions that support an enduring narrative of paucity, by examining non-chancery archival practices in Mamlūk Cairo on the eve of the Ottoman conquest in 922/1517. In doing this, it looks to some of the surviving original documentary material: legal property deeds with connections to waqf endowments whose potential to shed light on archival history has largely remained untapped. Surviving in large numbers in modern collections in Cairo, these documents contain abundant traces of their own archival histories. By presenting a micro-scale case study drawn from this material, this article shows the energetic and meticulous documentary and archival practices that surrounded property transactions in late-Mamlūk Cairo.
Numerous tārīḫs (chronicles) were written in Timbuktu and its surrounding world from the seventeenth to the twentieth century CE. They constitute the Timbuktu tārīḫ tradition. The tārīḫs were embedded in different political projects, which became possible and necessary only under certain historical conditions. Hence, tārīḫs do not all belong to one single genre of historical literature. A chronicle that belongs to the Timbuktu tārīḫ tradition is the twentieth-century Kitāb al-turjumān. It sheds light on history writing in the Sahel during a crucial time, namely European colonial rule and the political realities it gave birth to thereafter. One of modern historians’ most important tasks is precisely to identify, describe, and analyse the different genres within the tārīḫ tradition. We attempt to do that in the case of the Kitāb al-turjumān.
Emigration from the Habsburg Empire and the German-speaking states was a midsize phenomenon in the nineteenth century that has so far received little attention. Especially during pauperization up to the 1848 revolution, poverty migration from Central Europe by artisans was widespread, but barely documented. As of mid-century, it affected mostly the peripheral Habsburg provinces, whereas workers from the more developed regions and Germany mostly only emigrated with specialist labor opportunities awaiting or for adventure. Lower-class emigrants could relate to their country of origin and of residence in a myriad of different ways that cannot be subsumed under "integration" vs. "diaspora."
This chapter tries to determine how the study of port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean can be linked to the discussions on global history. It also tries to define "culture" in a way that makes it more operational for the study of heterogeneous societies, gives an outlook onto the chapters to come, and explains in which way the investigations within this book differ from earlier studies of late Ottoman society and identity.
A survey of dissertations on Strauss reveals trends that emerged over time in terms of topics and methodologies that captured the interest of emerging scholars as well as the geographic locations and eras that produced the most research. Yet Strauss scholarship is not merely defined by the issues it addresses and questions it puts forward, but also by those it ignores or unwittingly pushes to the margins of discussion. After assessing the past, this chapter proposes topics and approaches largely absent in existing Strauss scholarship, many of which have been more thoroughly explored in related fields. While far from comprehensive, this discussion points to potentially fruitful paths for future research: the Lieder, his influence on contemporaries, his role as Kapellmeister and administrator, his material possessions, and his relationships with figures trusted to construct his legacy.
Historians have debated whether Levantines, that is, locally integrated groups with hereditary ties to Western/Central Europe and/or the Catholic Church around the Eastern Mediterranean constituted a proto-ethnic group identity or were merely lumped together by pejorative exonyms. A close reading of Levantine writers' statements or lack thereof reveals that nineteenth-century "Levantine" intellectuals did not lay claim to a group identity, but rather to a space that allowed for ambivalent identities and spaces. Only twentieth-century authors cast Levantine identity as a quasi-ethnicity. The more recent generation has combined the latter assumption with the nostalgia produced by the former.
This essay follows in the footsteps of two women, Cecile Fatiman and Petra Carabalí, to explore the convergence between sacred space, embodied archives, and slave insurgent movements during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Cecile Fatiman was the mambo, or Vodun priestess, who famously presided over the Bois-Caiman ceremony that ignited the Haitian Revolution. Though relatively unknown to historians, Petra Carabalí helped to produce a momentous ritual that erupted during the 1844 slave movement in Cuba. Cecile and Petra’s stories demonstrate that enslaved women were critical participants in several important rituals that became catalysts for organized rebellion. This chapter examines the gendered politics of these ritual spaces and the role of sacred dance in producing a larger insurgent culture. It demonstrates the ways in which ritual activities enabled enslaved people to nourish organic political cultures, reclaim violated bodies, and engage a larger Atlantic ethos of freedom. Ultimately, it uses ritual space and sacred dance as alternative archives to reconceptualize how enslaved people imagined, enacted, and lived their freedom.
As the Irish LGBTQ+ community has emerged in a period of radical and rapid social change, the figure of the queer is often made to function as a figure for social progress. By focusing on recent queer critical work on time and temporalities, this chapter asks how the queer figure of the contemporary fails to address lingering traumas of social stigma and violence (including the 1982 antigay murder of Declan Flynn) and also fails to fully account for the connection of temporalities to sexual identity and belonging. By examining representations of sexual bodies in and out of sync with normative social and temporal structures – particularly in literature by Irish lesbian writers, such as Emma Donoghue and Mary Dorcey – this chapter foregrounds the ways that temporalities script and structure the sexual and how some forms of queer identity and community may resist or rethink those scripts through alternative registers of time.
In “Object Studies and Keepsakes, Artifacts, and Ephemera,” Krista Quesenberry explores the fascination with artifacts Ernest Hemingway – often described as “a notorious packrat” – left behind. These keepsakes, which range from guns to family photographs to clothing, make up various formal and informal archives around the world, from the Hemingway Collection at the Kennedy Library to the Finca Vigía in Cuba to the materials stored in Benjamin “Dink” Bruce’s attic in Key West. Drawing from an eclectic range of sources, including not only newspaper stories about these possessions but academic calls for papers, Quesenberry notes how objects are invested with aura and give authenticity to the experience of examining an author’s life. The downside is that desire often leads to unexpected discovery of a new revelation. Quesenberry then examines materiality in Hemingway’s texts, arguing the author’s stylistic fondness for objects is a form of material realism. The essay also discusses several contemporary schools of theory in which analyses of these archives and objects may be analyzed: object theory, object-oriented feminism, material culture, and more.
This first chapter introduces the primary source materials that make historical study of an institution possible, going on to sketch the patterns and ranks of employment - from choirboy, through chaplain, vicar, canon, dean and provost - that shape the functions of a collegiate church such as St Omer. It goes on paint a picture of the history and development of the town of Saint-Omer – its geography, population, politics and trade – to give a larger social and historical context to the story of the large collegiate church which constitutes the rest of the book.
Chapter 6 demonstrates that projects for managing the natural world established in the colonial period enjoyed continued relevance after independence from Spain in 1821, as the new states of the federal republic of Central America embarked on renewed efforts to study nature. Focusing on the case study of Guatemala, the new republic maintained ‘useful patriotism’ as an ideal of citizenship and re-established colonial institutions such as the Economic Society. Even while undertaking self-consciously ‘modern’ mapping and surveying projects, statesmen drew heavily on the models of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Moreover, despite the economic importance of Britain in Central America at this time, and despite the often negative opinions that British scientists and governments expressed of Spanish American (colonial and independent) knowledges, British investors and geographers were heavily reliant not just on the new maps of the independent state, but colonial geographical material from Spanish archives too. Colonial-era reform projects, often through a material legacy of plans in an archive, had laid the groundwork for imagining a Central America built on ideas of useful knowledge, patriotic dedication, and connected scientific networks around the world.
The Conclusion argues that the historical parallels we identify in Irish, Russian, and Ethiopian famine relief are neither incidental nor trivial. Their understanding may be improved if one views humanitarian efforts as an outcome of moral economic considerations, and this approach is consistent with the recent recognition of the links between humanitarianism and capitalism. Our moral economy approach sees practice as central to humanitarian history. This should be a transdisciplinary endeavour, informed by a wide range of debates and observations, including donor psychology, humanitarian logistics, and critical accounting. Our perspective, with a focus on fundraising appeals, allocation, and accounting, is of relevance to current humanitarian policy and practice, which is briefly sketched, and we hope it will inspire future research and practice.
This essay, written collectively by the co-editors of the publication Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents (2018), provides an account of the book's conception, institutional backing, and multi-year process of research and editing. The authors reflect in particular on the translational politics that obtain in the global art world and the museum sector as well as the academic study of the modern Middle East.
This essay considers the contribution of Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rogers, and Nada Shabout's Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents to global art history. In particular, the essay addresses the archival turn, the challenges of language and translations in the publication of primary sources, and the continued need to challenge Eurocentric views of and approaches to global modernism. This includes considering how Modern Art and the Arab World's contributions aim to upend Western preconceptions about modern art from the “Arab world,” and demonstrating how such publications can serve as sources for critical evaluations and reconsiderations of the history of global modernism in general.
Housed in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the assiduously organized (and carefully curated) Coetzee Papers include manuscript drafts of Coetzee’s novels (formerly available at the Houghton Library, Harvard College), as well as notebooks, correspondence, teaching materials, and photographs. Only recently opened, this archive has prompted a new wave of critical studies, only some of which have been sufficiently alert to, or indeed sceptical of, the procedures and decisions involved in its establishment and organization. Reflecting on this, this chapter considers the provenance and particular character of these papers in light of Coetzee’s career-long quarrying of autobiographical materials, his project of self-archiving, his explorations of archival themes and use of archival energies in his fictions, and his particular interest in the nature of secrets and lies, of concealment, distortion, and revelation. It argues that it is vital that critics think carefully about their own purposes in reading the archives; about the writer’s purposes in producing them; and about the kinds of truth at stake in the works, the archives, and the literary criticism they occasion.
This chapter explores the genesis and development of the two novels that brought J. M. Coetzee significant international notice, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) and Life & Times of Michael K (1983). It makes use of Coetzee’s papers which are housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, in particular Coetzee’s manuscripts and notebooks, in giving an account of his creative processes in the formative stages of his career. The chapter shows that ‘composition and craft’ in Coetzee involved a creative tension between self-discipline, organization, and rigour, and openness to the uncertainties of invention.