The Question of Recovery: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive (2015)

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The Question of Recovery: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive, special issue of Social Text 33.4 (2015).

Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, "By Design: Remapping the Colonial Archive"

scholars who have taken silences "as a provocation to rethink history and its methods" (142) -- "with an effort to understand and revise the colonial episteme of the archive" (142)

critique of use of birds-eye mapping technologies for digital humanities projects

"What new knowledge might emerge from such a double-order inscription of the master’s tools?" (143)

"Brown makes a powerful argument for the value of digital humanities approaches to the silences of history and the coloniality of the archive, an argument that turns on two points that are implicit in Brown’s work and worth making explicit: first, new technologies do enable new knowledge creation, and second, new knowledge emerges by way of creative engagement with the form (design) of the archive and its representation." (143)

"Brown thus literally writes over a colonial vision of space, remapping a plantation scene as one of warfare. Multiple regimes of rep- resentation thus compete across Brown’s digital project: historical maps, textual citation, and digitized drawing. Each regime is deeply marked as a strategy of representation rather than presented as providing transparent access to events of the past." (145)

Ann Stoler, "we should not simply turn to the colonial archive to excavate the hidden documents of the past but should do so to understand how the production, circulation, and housing of documents themselves are part and parcel of a colonial technology of rule, part and parcel of how colonialism thinks and constructs the world." (145)