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Susceptible Archives

Author(s): Kopf, Anne

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Abstract: Here she has constructed her version of what Allan Seluka calls a “shadow archive”: the invention of an inclusive social context which supplements and haunts disparate, traditional archives.4 In this light, the most difficult challenge facing the racialized intellectual doing race work, Carby shows, is not one of representation, as is often posed, but a deeper and more fraught epistemological negotiation among memories public and private, the fraught demands of desire, the pulls of affective allegiances and political commitments—all of which can be layered, contradictory, and mediated. [...]much has been written about the British Empire, and yet shockingly little has been done to explore with this kind of scope and detail, with this level of honesty and compassion, its particular and peculiar production of race and mixed-racedness, itself also a notably under-theorized concept. Imperial Intimacies meditates on “mixed-racedness” on multiple levels: as splinters in a family tree; as affective contradictions and allegiances; as psychical ruptures; as an intellectual commitment against Manichean differences, especially when it comes to the processes and consequences of racialization; and, finally, as the animating inspiration for this book’s textual strategy, drawing from and creating a confrontation among legal documents, historical records, personal letters, maps, and photographs. [...]much of what Carby wrote in the early 1990s on the so-called “multicultural wars” remains troublingly on point: that the woman of color is always asked to represent (to operate under what Claudia Tate called the “protocols of race”);6 that she is always reproduced as Other by both distractors and rescuers alike; that popular appetite for black cultural production often substitutes for social and political engagement; that the war over “multicultural curriculum” in the 80s and 90s (whether the attention to multiculturalism is intellectually sound or merely politically driven) is really a war over the profound and stubborn tension between scholarship and politics.7 This struggle between scholarship and politics goes right to the heart of current debates about what we do as readers and interpreters of texts.
Publication Date: 15-Nov-2020
Citation: Kopf, Anne. (2020). Susceptible Archives. Invisible Culture : An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture
DOI: 10.47761/494a02f6.dc2523c2
ISSN: 1097-3710
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture
Version: Author's manuscript

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