- Editors’ Note
CSSAAME marked the centennial of 1917—and the transformations effected by the linked events of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, more generally—with a conversation inaugurated by Partha Chatterjee and Christine Philliou on the effects of anticolonialism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism. Our last issue focused on responses by scholars who addressed the politics of cosmopolitanism in European and African thought. We also carried a special section on the social technologies of sound and light (electricity) as these organized and fundamentally transformed Ottoman urbanity. We ended our last issue by asking what it might mean to consider the Indian Ocean as an aesthetic and performative circuit.
This issue begins with a set of essays that explores one of the most significant and enduring effects of the interwar in reshaping global history, the question of Palestine. Our contributors to the section “Palestine: Doing Things with Archives” consider the problem of the archive as a problem of knowledge under conditions of ongoing occupation and archival insurgence. The modern archive is a biography of the state, but it is also witness to efforts to marginalize counterhistories and obliterate memories of insurgence. The essays ask what resources and what practices of visibilization might allow us to apprehend the struggle for a Palestinian history as crucially linked to the imagination of a just political future.
We begin our section with an introduction by Lila Abu-Lughod, followed by Sherene Seikaly’s engagement with the archives of her great-grandfather, a cosmopolitan businessman in interwar Palestine. Seikaly’s reflections on the complex relationship between the archive and memory, as well as her focus on the social life of the archive, more generally, raise questions that are key to this themed section: the power of writing, writing against (state) power, and the archive’s relation to a future for Palestine.
Seikaly’s questions link closely with Sarah M. A. Gualtieri’s focus on the person and politics of Edward Said, whose own cross-border engagements in the Arab American social movement of the late 1960s played a critical role in internationalizing the Palestine issue. Gualtieri considers the potential of diaspora as a vehicle of change and a territory from which other forms of resistance emerge. Gil Hochberg approaches the work of Palestinian artist Jumana Manna as a “minor archive” that offers novel configurations of the future that elide the hegemonic embrace of both settler-colonial and nationalist resolutions of the question of Palestine. Ann Laura Stoler focuses on the materiality of the archive and asks how the mode of presentation of thousands of documents in the Palestinian archive at the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies speaks to the role of diaspora and dissensus in organizing the political imagination of Palestine.
Two essays explore novel mechanisms of subjectification and surveillance across Turkey’s long twentieth century. Each addresses the manner in which local knowledge transforms a universal and universalizing [End Page 1] technology. Kutluğhan Soyubol’s essay shows how the father of Turkish psychoanalysis, Izzettin Sadan, devised novel ways to accommodate the social and historical specificity of Turkish life in the early years of the republic in the course of translating the European psychoanalytic canon. Meanwhile, the essay by Sanem Güvenç-Salgırlı and Bahar Aykan addresses the politics of exposure through a discussion of the state’s management of the kamu spotu (public spot) in contemporary Turkey. Unlike the new language of exploration of the inner self that was enabled by Sadan’s translation of psychoanalytic vocabulary, the securitization of public spots is also a mechanism for bringing spheres of the ordinary and the everyday into the sphere of publicity, and thus of control and regulation.
Two other essays in this issue also address the relationship among publics, performance, and the past. David Boyk looks at how the early twentieth-century newspaper al-Punch, based in the “ordinary” northern Indian city of Patna, enabled the formation of a distinctive provincial public that challenged Hindi nationalist and official colonial discourse by claiming older Urdu literary traditions.
Meanwhile, Youssef Belal examines the “jurisprudence of the revolution,” a new field of Islamic law inaugurated by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one...