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The conclusion draws together the threads of the three key fields of colonial knowledge and shows some of the later trajectories of these rich archives. Australian data proved central to key ideas that were fomented during the nineteenth century, and which continue to affect contemporary society. Debates about civilisational orders, and about the role of science and religion in relation to the extension of imperial power and economic privilege, were widespread. The distinctive nature of the Australian colonial experiment continues to make important contributions to global debates about the history of humanitarianism and human rights, apologies and reparations sought by colonised and displaced peoples for the wrongs of imperialism and colonial governance, and the uneven distribution of wealth, up to the twenty-first century.
This essay takes a close look at Maura Dykstra's monograph Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine (Harvard Asia Center, 2022). It analyzes the book's multitude of problems, such as its flawed conception, numerous factual blunders, failure to engage existing scholarship, problematic choice of primary sources, and dubious citation practices. Most significantly, this essay aims to provide ample evidence to demonstrate how the book systematically misrepresents the majority of its primary sources to support an untenable thesis. It argues that the book's central claims are ungrounded in evidence.
As popular print ephemera, comics hold a complex and precarious relationship to preservation and duration, which has marked their status as “archivable” (or “non-archivable”) materials. This chapter sketches some of the different ways that institutions, producers, and audiences have coped with this fragility and have defined practices of preservation and collection. The chapter subsequently analyzes comics in libraries and archives, collecting practices by readers and fans, uses of archives in comics production. At each step, it pays particular attention to the importance of materiality, senses, formats, manipulation in the preservation of comics, connecting them to matters of copyright, library policies, and commercial interests. The importance of these parameters is set out against changing notions of archives and archival practice, especially under the impulse of their digital transformation. The broader picture considers the importance of medium specificity in an age of online archival plenitude.
This piece follows Stuart Ward's Untied Kingdom as it traverses a collapsing British Empire and an increasingly disunited United Kingdom to tell the complex history of Britishness in retreat across the world, mainly between 1945 and the early twenty-first century. It reviews some of the shifting meanings of Britishness that Ward charts in different contexts, different territories and at different moments in this history and the dwindling resonance of Britishness almost everywhere. It reviews other main themes that thread through the book: language, migration, race, belonging and unbelonging, nationalism, violence, and the impact of imperialism and colonialism on cultures, societies and mindsets.
Chapter 2 introduces the case study at the heart of this book, the Theater an der Ruhr, and traces its institutional formation in the post-industrial Ruhr valley. This chapter builds on archival material and fieldwork in the archives of the Theater an der Ruhr in the theatre studies collection on Schloss Wahn in Cologne, suggesting new ways for combining ethnographic and historiographic methods for studying the institutionalisation of theatres. Documenting how its founders negotiated federal patrons and municipal funding, this chapter explores the political economy of public theatres and how they articulate their own forms of ‘artistic critique’ against the economisation of cultural production (Boltanski and Chiapello). It also describes, on the basis of a series of interviews and founding contracts and critical reception at the time, how and why the founders of the Theater an der Ruhr created an institutional structure that facilitates long phases of rehearsals, analysing its underpinning by an avant-garde understanding of ‘autonomous artistic creation’ irreducible to profit.
The trajectory of the Hassan II Prize for Manuscripts, a government initiative begun in the late 1960s to locate rare manuscripts in private collections, is a potent example of the role Arabic-script manuscript culture played in post-colonial nation-building in Morocco. This article presents the history of the Hassan II Prize for Manuscripts, demonstrating how Moroccan bureaucrats used the recovery of archival documents and especially historic manuscripts in Arabic-script, as part of a multi-faceted nation-building project after European colonization. Their project included connecting historic manuscripts to Moroccan identity and territorial sovereignty. It contends that the ramifications of linking these policies with documentary heritage would affect what came to be discovered, valorized, and preserved in the “national collection” and subsequently, what histories could be written.
Late modernism in the US, lasting roughly from 1945 to 1960, is characterized by two simultaneous yet contradictory developments. In one, the techniques and, to a lesser extent, themes of international literary modernism continued to infuse America’s literary bloodstream, diversifying, spreading, and becoming part of the common artistic vocabulary, particularly for underground or countercultural movements. But at the same time, the major institutions of elite culture in the US such as publishers, universities, book-review magazines, and even foundations and the government gradually and then wholeheartedly adopted it in the 1950s and rewrote its history to create a kind of “official” modernism. If late modernism was a set of techniques bereft of a mission, Cold War modernism then voided the modernist project of any urgency or sociopolitical critique, reframing it as the highest expression of the self-satisfied liberal society that avant-garde modernism had always reviled.
Collecting and collector culture remain important aspects in the contemporary graphic novel, sustaining a relationship to the past that is tangible in material objects. While the representation of collectors is well known, this chapter charts a somewhat different aspect of collectors and the archives they assemble: it is less interested in graphic novelists as collectors than in their indebtedness to previous collections and the new uses they invent for them. This chapter attends to an earlier moment in the history of comics, one that precisely framed collecting as part of a media-historical conversation and in a context of changing ideas about cultural value, preservation, reproduction, and access, studying its long-term implications for understanding the archival impulse in the graphic novel today.
The archival record of the transatlantic slave trade poses a methodological challenge to researchers who wish to center the lives of enslaved people in their scholarship. In more recent years, such archival scrutiny has evolved into its own vibrant field of inquiry concerning the politics of the archive. This article contributes to this burgeoning field by studying the pharmaceutical dimensions of the British slave trade and examining the underexplored relationship between captivity and drugs that articulated across the Atlantic world. By performing three different readings of a slave ship drug invoice—as a textual artifact, epistemic argument, and narrative of loss—I argue that the drug invoice stimulates new illness narratives of captive Africans in the historiography of the British slave trade.
This study, which focuses on the Roman Catholic Church, explores the concepts of confidentiality and the right to privacy in contemporary moral and legal thought. The management of church personnel files presents the challenge of observing and maintaining confidentiality and privacy. In most cases, the information contained in personnel files of the clergy, members of religious institutes, and others holding ecclesiastical offices is confidential, which should safeguard the reputation of all persons involved. From a juridical viewpoint, the Church's innate duty to respect the dignity of the person, as well as the natural right of privacy and good name, forms the foundation of this study. Certain practices in the Church entail the collection, use, or retention of confidential information about individuals for internal purposes, the administration of justice, and the management of archives and documents in the diocesan curia. In the final analysis, the Church has the responsibility to both protect the privacy of all the faithful and to transmit the Gospel message transparently.
Recent scholarly interest in the figure of the interpreter has resulted in a wealth of studies of individual interpreting careers and interpretation practices in specific historical contexts. But, while it is common for present-day knowledge and personal experience of interpreting to inform historical case studies, or for historical examples to receive passing mention in accounts of the contemporary situation, a truly critically informed diachronic perspective is so far lacking. This chapter takes a comparative diachronic approach to the study of interpreting by comparing and contrasting the lives of military interpreters in diverse historic contexts. Rather than offering separate biographies, my aim is to show how structural factors affect the position and practices of interpreters across time and space. I will also show how experience in working with fragmentary evidence from one period (e.g., documents from the ancient Mediterranean world) can be used to inform research on interpreting in other historic contexts (e.g., British Army records from the First World War).
This chapter is devoted to Ishiguro’s archive and aims to suggest ways in which our understanding of the author’s work can be developed and enhanced by an examination of his drafts, notes, plans and other documents. It first offers a brief description of the scope and contents of Ishiguro’s papers, which the author carefully selected, organized, and prepared before their transfer to the Harry Ransom Center. It then discusses his conscientious methods of composition as revealed by the archives and as presented by Ishiguro himself in an explanatory piece entitled ‘How I Write’: months or years of planning precede the first formal drafts, which are extensively revised or sometimes discarded altogether. As a case study, the chapter examines some of the ‘precursors’ to The Remains of the Day in order to show how access to the archives and preliminary steps to a published text may illuminate the complex process of creation.
Beginning with the mysterious problem of the so-called “caste system,” this introduction questions the ubiquitous scholarly understanding of the monarchy as a cabal of lawmakers determined to legislate every detail of vassals’ lives. It introduces a very different perspective – namely, that subjects submitting gobierno or administrative-legislative petitions not only prompted the vast majority of the empire’s dizzying thousands of royal decrees – including those concerning novel categories of human difference. It explains how both liberal-era and Habsburg mythologies of Spanish imperial rule envisioned the king as the primary author of these texts, and proposes a labor-oriented, Actor-Network Theory-inspired alternative explanation. It introduces the petition-and-response system, explaining that early modern participants sought intimate lord–ruler dialogue, in which vassals and lords endowed their writings with voluntad or volition, in order to save the consciences of all involved. It also argues that in order for this communication to thrive, a number of legal fictions – including the transfer of voluntad across the globe – was necessary. Also lurking in the distance was violence against the saboteurs of this ruler–ruled dialogue. Lastly, this segment introduces the source material and book structure.
This chapter further explores the relationship between knowledge, archives, and power, picking up when the monarch established Madrid as the capital in 1561. This enabled ministers to establish the first European rational factual archives to exercise dominion over overseas domains. My main argument is that the Council of the Indies and, starting in the 1580s, the special imperial boards managed to create three improved spheres of imperial administration thanks to these pioneering factual archives, in the areas of war, finance, and Franciscan affairs. I analyse how royal ministers largely succeeded in implementing various decision-making innovations: understanding the Indies in a synoptic way, improving the allocation of scarce financial and military resources, and identifying dubious requests coming from the New World. In addition, I underline how already in the 1590s this limited but important archival revolution had unexpected social and epistemological consequences within the administrative field. There was the expansion of the power of the secretaries, notaries, and other subordinates whose work and archival expertise allowed the ministers to successfully if selectively improve their most important decisions. This chapter also underscores the important role of secretaries’ wives as archival custodians.
In this paper, the author asserts that the Johannesburg Art Gallery has also done remarkably well in preserving archival material in the field of black visual art. Such documents shed light on the operations of the visual art industry in South Africa before the democratic dispensation of 1994. He argues that heritage practitioners, artists, and scholars can immensely enhance their knowledge through study of these records. The author also thinks that it is crucial for this unique collection to be digitized for preservation and access.
Chapter 2 explores the politics of history in wartime Venice, focusing on the processes of documentation and representation that articulated the meaning of war in official and popular accounts. It charts how the two state historiographers, Michele Foscarini and Pietro Garzoni, incorporated the war into the official narrative of the Republic and patrician image-making. It then provides a detailed overview of popular histories, with emphasis on the political and commercial imperatives that determined their publication. Finally, it considers the role of censorship and shows how official historiography became a site of contestation between competing elite groups. The chapter argues that state-sponsored and popular histories compel us to rethink the colonial conditions of the production of Venetian historical sources and the close relationship between historical discourse and overseas empire-building.
From Tanganyika’s independence in 1961 to the collapse of the Portuguese empire in 1974, Dar es Salaam was an epicentre of revolution in Africa. The representatives of anticolonial liberation movements set up offices in the city, attracting the interest of the Cold War powers, who sought to expand their influence in the Third World. Meanwhile, the Tanzanian government sought to translate independence into meaningful decolonisation through an ambitious project to build a socialist state. This chapter explains how the lens of the city reveals the connections between the dynamics of the Cold War, decolonisation, and socialist state-making in Tanzania. It locates this approach among new approaches to the history of the Cold War, decolonisation, and global cities. Scattered across continents, the postcolonial archive offers the potential for exploring the revolutionary dynamics which intersected in Dar es Salaam.