Organized Panel Session
Historians and scholars of other disciplines have long turned to the archive as a site of intellectual query. Investigations explore the archive as a site of knowledge-production, visibility and invisibility, and violence have reminded scholars that archives, too, have histories. This panel builds on the scholarship related to the archive and turns to South Asia and histories related to South Asians to investigate the archive as a historical production of imperial and postcolonial state practice. This panel situates the production of the archive in India, Pakistan, Britain and the United States in relationship to histories of sexuality, immigration, Partition, and community. It explores how understandings of peoples, practices, and violence were fundamental to archival practice and the production of archives.
Neelam Khoja traces British colonial production of an archive on Afghan history, culture, and people from the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. Transitioning to the twentieth century, Hardeep Dhillon and Aparna Kumar investigate the relations between archives and violence. Hardeep Dhillon examines how law's archive narrates histories of immigrant expulsions in the United States in the early twentieth century. Aparna Kumar explores the division of museum archives during the partition of 1947 to unravel the difficult conditions in which art was made national in South Asia. Together, these scholarly accounts reinvigorate the long-standing archival turn across the disciplines of history and re-engage historical material and artifacts.