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Theoretical Explorations Module IV

Jan '20

The Archive

The Archive

‘The Archive’ takes centre stage in today’s global contemporary: 


- in government (not only bureaucracy but also intelligence and counter-terrorism); 

- in university (not just the history and ethnography disciplines but across the human and natural sciences); 

- in protest (human rights, activist, and curatorial ‘forensic’ investigation, documentation, and exhibition of human suffering and its perpetration); 

- even in the clinic (where therapy often takes the form of patient inscriptions of the minutiae of their everyday thoughts and (in)actions in journal-calendars). 


‘Archiving’ - counting the past in the present for the sake of the future - has become a political, scientific, ethical, and therapeutic imperative of the contemporary human subject. 


The course employs Marxian and psychoanalytic approaches to ‘the archive’ as an unwitting support of the systemic impasses of the contemporary world order: financial uncertainty, violence, right wing populism, ecological catastrophe, nervous conditions. The seemingly endless finding, producing, and circulation of knowledge about these impasses - ‘archiving’ is valued and enjoyed in-itself. A critical analysis of the production and enjoyment of contemporary ‘archives’, the course will cultivate alternative political, scientific, ethical, and subjective epistemologies and practices to think again the relation between knowledge and change.

About the Professor

Rohit Goel