Utopian archives, decolonial affordances: Introduction to special issue

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Colonial archives constituted a technology that enabled the collection, storage, ordering, retrieval and exchange of knowledge as an instrument of colonial governance. It is not surprising that when such archives were inherited by independent nation-states they were not given the authority previously granted them and have often been neglected. What, then, is the future of colonial archives in postcolonial nations? How should we rethink these archives in relation to decolonial futures? This essay introduces a collection of articles that explore the repertoires of action latent in archives and how colonial archives are being reconfigured to imagine decolonial futures.

Les archives coloniales ont constitué une technologie qui a permis la collecte, le stockage, la commande, la récupération et l'échange de connaissances comme un instrument de gouvernance coloniale. Il n'est pas surprenant que lorsque ces archives ont été héritées par des nations indépendants, ils n'ont pas recu l'autorité précédemment accordé et ont souvent été négligés. Quel est donc l'avenir des archives coloniales dans les nations postcoloniales? Comment devrions-nous repenser ces archives par rapport au futur décolonial? Cet essai présente une collection d'articles qui explorent les répertoires d'action latente dans les archives et questionne comment les archives coloniales sont en cours de reconfigurer l'imagination pour des futures décoloniales.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Anthropology
Issue number1
Early online date17 Feb 2016
StatePublished - Feb 2016


    Research areas

  • archives, decolonisation, memory, affordances, decolonial futures

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