In The Archive and the Repertoire preeminent performance studies scholar Diana Taylor provides a new understanding of the vital role of performance in the Americas. From plays to official events to grassroots protests, performance, she argues, must be taken seriously as a means of storing and transmitting knowledge. Taylor reveals how the repertoire of embodied memory—conveyed in gestures, the spoken word, movement, dance, song, and other performances—offers alternative perspectives to those derived from the written archive and is particularly useful to a reconsideration of historical processes of transnational contact. The Archive and the Repertoire invites a remapping of the Americas based on traditions of embodied practice.
Examining various genres of performance including demonstrations by the children of the disappeared in Argentina, the Peruvian theatre group Yuyachkani, and televised astrological readings by Univision personality Walter Mercado, Taylor explores how the archive and the repertoire work together to make political claims, transmit traumatic memory, and forge a new sense of cultural identity. Through her consideration of performances such as Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s show Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit . . . , Taylor illuminates how scenarios of discovery and conquest haunt the Americas, trapping even those who attempt to dismantle them. Meditating on events like those of September 11, 2001 and media representations of them, she examines both the crucial role of performance in contemporary culture and her own role as witness to and participant in hemispheric dramas. The Archive and the Repertoire is a compelling demonstration of the many ways that the study of performance enables a deeper understanding of the past and present, of ourselves and others.
In this bold new work of cultural criticism, Ann Cvetkovich develops a queer approach to trauma. She argues for the importance of recognizing—and archiving—accounts of trauma that belong as much to the ordinary and everyday as to the domain of catastrophe. An Archive of Feelings contends that the field of trauma studies, limited by too strict a division between the public and the private, has overlooked the experiences of women and queers. Rejecting the pathologizing understandings of trauma that permeate medical and clinical discourses on the subject, Cvetkovich develops instead a sex-positive approach missing even from most feminist work on trauma.She challenges the field to engage more fully with sexual trauma and the wide range of feelings in its vicinity, including those associated with butch-femme sex and aids activism and caretaking.
An Archive of Feelings brings together oral histories from lesbian activists involved in act up/New York; readings of literature by Dorothy Allison, Leslie Feinberg, Cherríe Moraga, and Shani Mootoo; videos by Jean Carlomusto and Pratibha Parmar; and performances by Lisa Kron, Carmelita Tropicana, and the bandsLe Tigre andTribe 8. Cvetkovich reveals how activism, performance, and literature give rise to public cultures that work through trauma and transform the conditions producing it. By looking closely at connections between sexuality, trauma, and the creation of lesbian public cultures, Cvetkovich makes those experiences that have been pushed to the peripheries of trauma culture the defining principles of a new construction of sexual trauma—one in which trauma catalyzes the creation of cultural archives and political communities.
Mumbai's textile industry is commonly but incorrectly understood to be an extinct relic of the past. In The Archive of Loss Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers—who are assumed not to exist—to live and work during a period of deindustrialization. Finkelstein shows how mills are ethnographic archives of the city where documents, artifacts, and stories exist in the buildings and in the bodies of workers. Workers' pain, illnesses, injuries, and exhaustion narrate industrial decline; the ways in which they live in tenements exist outside and resist the values expounded by modernity; and the rumors and untruths they share about textile worker strikes and a mill fire help them make sense of the industry's survival. In outlining this archive's contents, Finkelstein shows how mills, which she conceptualizes as lively ruins, become a lens through which to challenge, reimagine, and alter ways of thinking about the past, present, and future in Mumbai and beyond.
The Birth of the Archive traces the history of archives from their emergence in the Late Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period, and vividly shows how archives permeated and fundamentally changed European culture. Archives were compiled and maintained by peasants and kings, merchants and churchmen, and conceptions of archives were as diverse as those who used them. The complex, demanding job of the archivist was just as variable: archivists might serve as custodians, record-keepers, librarians, legal experts, historians, scholars, researchers, public officials, or some combination thereof; navigating archives was often far from straightforward. The shift of archival storage from haphazard collections of papers to the methodically organized institutionalized holdings of the nineteenth century was a gradual, nonlinear process.
Friedrich provides an essential background to the history of archives over the centuries and enriches the story of their evolution with chapters on key sociocultural aspects of European archival culture. He discusses their meaning and symbolism in European thought, early modern conceptions of the archive’s function, and questions of access and usability. Exploring the close, often vexed relationship between archives and political power, Friedrich illustrates the vulnerability of archives to political upheaval and war. He concludes with an introspective look at how historians used their knowledge of and work with archives to create distinct representations of themselves and their craft.
The Birth of the Archive engages with scholarship in political history, the history of mentalities, conceptions of space, historiography, and the history of everyday life in early modern Europe. It has much to offer for specialists and scholars, while the jargon-free prose of this translation is also accessible to the general reader.
Cinema is not only a major industry in India, it is a powerful cultural force. But until now, no one has undertaken a major examination of the ways in which films made in Bombay mediate the urban experience in India. In Bombay Cinema, Ranjani Mazumdar takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding Bombay cinema as the unofficial archive of the city in India.
In this analysis of the cinematic city, Mazumdar reveals a complex postnationalist world, convulsed by the social crisis of the 1970s and transformed by the experience of globalization in the 1990s. She argues that the upheaval of postcolonial nationalism led to Bombay cinema’s articulation of urban life in entirely new terms. Specifically, the place of the village in the imaginary constitution of anticolonial nationalism gave way to a greater acknowledgment, even centrality, of urban space. Bombay Cinema takes the reader on an inventive journey through a cinematic city of mass crowds, violence, fashion, architectural fantasies, and subcultural identities. Moving through the world of gangsters and vamps, families and drifters, and heroes and villains, Bombay Cinema explores an urban landscape marked by industrial decline, civic crisis, working-class disenchantment, and diverse street life.Combining the anecdotal with the theoretical, the philosophical with the political, and the textual with the historical, Bombay Cinema leads the reader into the heart of the urban labyrinth in India, revising and deepening our understanding of both the city and the cinema.
"A landmark study—carefully researched, well organized and offering refreshingly uncondescending and strikingly insightful discussions of mainstream films—that deserves to be read by anyone interested in India's popular cinema or its contemporary urban life." —Journal of Asian Studies
"Bombay Cinema is an exciting and important contribution to a field that has, to date, been under researched and under theorized. Lively, provocative and richly suggestive, it will also serve as a surefire incentive to watch those films all over again." —Screen
"Here, at last, is a book length study on Cinema in India that does not get locked into a dance of hermetic closure between what transpires on screen and a set of stock off screen textual and cultural references, but more importantly, walks the streets where the films are set, looks at shop windows, publicity material, costumes, fashion, architecture, telecommunications and the concrete materiality that surrounds the film object." —Seminar
"Bombay Cinema is lucid, provocative, stylish and substantial. It is an illuminating scholarly study that spares no effort to bring Bombay cinema out of the academic closet." —The Book Review India
"Departing from the obsession that Film Studies in India has displayed with the idea of cinema as a national allegory, the book convincingly argues for the need to examine the city's hidden archive as one that cannot be subsumed within the sign of the national." —Biblio
"Mazumdar has a great capacity to discuss Indian cinema, with a brilliant grasp of its political, historical, and aesthetic developments, but equally she is well attuned to the interests and ruptures in the academic discourse of film and cinema studies."—Film International
"Mazumdar's experience as a filmmaker allowed her to offer significant readings of not just the narratives and character development in the films, but of the cinematography, mise-en-scene, and other technical and performance aspects of production." —Journal of Popular Culture
"At once about Hindi films, spatial practices, urban modernity and globalization . . . the strength of Bombay Cinema lies in bringing all of them together in a productive conversation.” —Economic and Political Weekly
"Bombay Cinema is methodologically challenging in its deployment of moments rather than discursiveformations of film as text. The book also refuses to read film alone, but interprets the medium alongside the detailed insights of people involved in making them, and with the recent history of Bombay, within which the film industry is located. In Mazumdar's evocative reading of the films she engages with, the cinematic city becomes the space of critique of the nation, the site of the ruin of the modern nationalist project." —Contemporary South Asia
In the popular imagination, archives are remote, largely obsolete institutions: either antiquated, inevitably dusty libraries or sinister repositories of personal secrets maintained by police states. Yet the archive is now a ubiquitous feature of digital life. Rather than being deleted, e-mails and other computer files are archived. Media software and cloud storage allow for the instantaneous cataloging and preservation of data, from music, photographs, and videos to personal information gathered by social media sites.
In this digital landscape, the archival-oriented media theories of Wolfgang Ernst are particularly relevant. Digital Memory and the Archive, the first English-language collection of the German media theorist’s work, brings together essays that present Ernst’s controversial materialist approach to media theory and history. His insights are central to the emerging field of media archaeology, which uncovers the role of specific technologies and mechanisms, rather than content, in shaping contemporary culture and society.
Ernst’s interrelated ideas on the archive, machine time and microtemporality, and the new regimes of memory offer a new perspective on both current digital culture and the infrastructure of media historical knowledge. For Ernst, different forms of media systems—from library catalogs to sound recordings—have influenced the content and understanding of the archive and other institutions of memory. At the same time, digital archiving has become a contested site that is highly resistant to curation, thus complicating the creation and preservation of cultural memory and history.
In this witty, engaging, and challenging book, Carolyn Steedman has produced an originaland sometimes irreverentinvestigation into how modern historiography has developed. Dust: The Archive and Cultural History considers our stubborn set of beliefs about an objective material worldinherited from the nineteenth centurywith which modern history writing and its lack of such a belief, attempts to grapple. Drawing on her own published and unpublished writing, Carolyn Steedman has produced a sustained argument about the way in which history writing belongs to the currents of thought shaping the modern world.
Steedman begins by asserting that in recent years much attention has been paid to the archive by those working in the humanities and social sciences; she calls this practice "archivization." By definition, the archive is the repository of "that which will not go away," and the book goes on to suggest that, just like dust, the "matter of history" can never go away or be erased.
This unique work will be welcomed by all historians who want to think about what it is they do.
In Image Matters, Tina M. Campt traces the emergence of a black European subject by examining how specific black European communities used family photography to create forms of identification and community. At the heart of Campt's study are two photographic archives, one composed primarily of snapshots of black German families taken between 1900 and 1945, and the other assembled from studio portraits of West Indian migrants to Birmingham, England, taken between 1948 and 1960. Campt shows how these photographs conveyed profound aspirations to forms of national and cultural belonging. In the process, she engages a host of contemporary issues, including the recoverability of non-stereotypical life stories of black people, especially in Europe, and their impact on our understanding of difference within diaspora; the relevance and theoretical approachability of domestic, vernacular photography; and the relationship between affect and photography. Campt places special emphasis on the tactile and sonic registers of family photographs, and she uses them to read the complexity of "race" in visual signs and to highlight the inseparability of gender and sexuality from any analysis of race and class. Image Matters is an extraordinary reflection on what vernacular photography enabled black Europeans to say about themselves and their communities.
Writing has long been linked to power. For early modern people on both sides of the Atlantic, writing was also the province of notaries, men trained to cast other people’s words in official forms and make them legally true. Thus the first thing Columbus did on American shores in October 1492 was have a notary record his claim of territorial possession. It was the written, notarial word—backed by all the power of Castilian enforcement—that first constituted Spanish American empire. Even so, the Spaniards who invaded America in 1492 were not fond of their notaries, who had a dismal reputation for falsehood and greed. Yet Spaniards could not do without these men. Contemporary scholars also rely on the vast paper trail left by notaries to make sense of the Latin American past. How then to approach the question of notarial truth?
Kathryn Burns argues that the archive itself must be historicized. Using the case of colonial Cuzco, she examines the practices that shaped document-making. Notaries were businessmen, selling clients a product that conformed to local “custom” as well as Spanish templates. Clients, for their part, were knowledgeable consumers, with strategies of their own for getting what they wanted. In this inside story of the early modern archive, Burns offers a wealth of possibilities for seeing sources in fresh perspective.
Learning Legacies explores the history of cross-cultural teaching approaches, to highlight how women writer-educators used stories about their collaborations to promote community-building. Robbins demonstrates how educators used stories that resisted dominant conventions and expectations about learners to navigate cultural differences. Using case studies of educational initiatives on behalf of African American women, Native American children, and the urban poor, Learning Legacies promotes the importance of knowledge grounded in the histories and cultures of the many racial and ethnic groups that have always comprised America’s populace, underscoring the value of rich cultural knowledge in pedagogy by illustrating how creative teachers still draw on these learning legacies today.
Growing out of the collaborative research of an American ethnomusicologist and Zimbabwean musician, Paul F. Berliner and Cosmas Magaya’s Mbira’s Restless Dance documents the repertory for a keyboard instrument known generally as mbira. At the heart of this work lies the analysis of the improvisatory processes that propel mbira music’s magnificent creativity.
Mbira’s Restless Dance is written to be played. This two-volume, spiral-bound set features musical transcriptions of thirty-nine compositions and variations, annotated with the master player’s advice on technique and performance, his notes and observations, and commentary by Berliner. Enhanced with extensive website audiovisuals, Mbira’s Restless Dance is in effect a series of masterclasses with Magaya, suitable for experienced mbira players and those learning the fundamentals.
Together with Berliner's The Art of Mbira, in which he provides an indispensable historical and cultural guide to mbira in a changing world, Mbira's Restless Dance breaks new ground in the depth and specificity of its exploration of an African musical tradition, and in the entwining of the authors’ collaborative voices. It is a testament to the powerful relationship between music and social life—and the rewards of lifelong musical study, performance, and friendship.
Myth and Archive presents a new theory of the origin and evolution of Latin American literature and the emergence of the modern novel. In this influential, award-winning exploration of Latin American writing from colonial times to the present, Roberto González Echevarría dispenses with traditional literary history to reveal the indebted relationship of the novel to legal, scientific, and anthropological discourses. Providing ways to link literary and nonliterary narratives, González Echevarría examines a variety of archival writings—from the chronicles of the discovery and conquest of the New World to scientific travel narratives and records of criminal confessions—and explores the relationship of these writings to novels by authors such as García Márquez, Borges, Barnet, Sarmiento, Carpentier, and Garcilaso de la Vega. Moving beyond demonstrating that early forms of creative narrative had their geneses in the sixteenth-century authoritative discourse of the Spanish Empire, González Echevarría shows how this same originating process has been repeated in other key moments in the history of the Latin American narrative. He shows how the discourse of scientific discovery was the model for much nineteenth-century literature, as well as how anthropological writings on the nature of language and myth have come to shape the ideology and form of literature in the twentieth century. This most recent form of Latin American narrative creates its own mythic form through an atavistic return to its legal origins—the archive. This acclaimed book—originally published in 1990—will be of continuing interest to historians, anthropologists, literary theorists, and students of Latin American culture.
Charlotte Salomon's (1917-43) fantastical autobiography, Life? or Theater?, consists of 769 sequenced gouache paintings, through which the artist imagined the circumstances of the eight suicides in her family, all but one of them women. But Salomon's focus on suicide was not merely a familial idiosyncrasy. Nothing Happenedargues that the social history of early-twentieth-century Germany has elided an important cultural and social phenomenon by not including the story of German Jewish women and suicide. This absence in social history mirrors an even larger gap in the intellectual history of deeply gendered suicide studies that have reproduced the notion of women's suicide as a rarity in history. Nothing Happenedis a historiographic intervention that operates in conversation and in tension with contemporary theory about trauma and the reconstruction of emotion in history.
Dedicated to art practices that mobilize the model of the archive, Staging the Archive demonstrates the ways in which such “archival artworks” probe the possibilities of what art is and what it can do. Through a variety of media, methodologies and perspectives, the artists surveyed here also challenge the principles on which the notions of organization, evidence, and documentation are built. The earliest examples of the modern archival artwork were made in the 1930s, but only since the 1960s have artists really embraced archival principles to inform, structure, and shape their works. This includes practices that consist of archive construction, archaeological investigation, record keeping, and the use of archived materials, but also interrogations of the principles, claims, and effects of the archive.
Staging the Archive shows how artists read the concept of the archive against the grain, questioning not only what the archive is and can be but what materials, images, or ideas can be archived. Ernst van Alphen examines these archival artists and artworks in detail, setting them within their social, political, and aesthetic contexts. Exploring the works of Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Broodthaers, Christian Boltanski, Annette Messager, Fiona Tan, and Sophie Calle, among others, he reveals how modern and contemporary artists have used and contested the notion of the archive to establish new relationships to history, information, and data.