copyright Yatou Sallah

Photo Essay: Finding a place for historical nostalgia in Postcolonial Anthropology

by Yatou Sallah I have long been intrigued by the anthropological framing of Africans in the context of postcolonialism. As scholars and theorists in the field attempt to uncover the remnants of the horrendous control and exploitation of beings, bodies and resources, they paint communities in the Global South as figures who are and ought to be making their way out from underneath the heavy rubble of colonialism. Studying Anthropology at the VU and reading texts by Ferguson, Fanon, Chakrabarty, and those alike, students are taught to see through the narrative that the structures of colonialism have been dismantled. Instead …

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Colonial Ruins in Padang

By Freek Colombijn      The American anthropologist Ann Stoler argues that the ‘ruins of empire’, or ‘imperial debris’, must be studied less as ‘dead matter or remnants of a defunct regime than [in order] to attend to their reappropriations and strategic and active positioning within the politics of the present’ (Stoler 2008: 196). Colonial buildings, and also the selective restoration of them, are often contested by different actors with different interests. Aware of such contestations, Ann Stoler (2008: 201) makes the point that ‘[r]uins are not just found, they are made. They become repositories of public knowledge and new …

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