For some time now, scholars have recognized the archive less as a neutral repository of documents of the past, and rather more as a politically interested representation of it, and recognized that the very act of archiving is accompanied by a process of un-archiving. Michel Foucault pointed to "madness" as describing one limit of reason, history and the archive. This book draws attention to another boundary, marked not by exile, but by the ordinary and everyday, yet trivialized or "trifling." It is the status of being exiled within – by prejudices, procedures, activities and interactions so fundamental as to not even be noticed – that marks the unarchived histories investigated in this volume.

Bringing together contributions covering South Asia, North and South America, and North Africa, this innovative analysis presents novel interpretations of unfamiliar sources and insightful reconsiderations of well-known materials that lie at the centre of many current debates on history and the archive.

part |19 pages


chapter 1|17 pages

Unarchived histories

The “mad” and the “trifling”

part I|52 pages

The state and its record(s)

chapter 2|18 pages

Peasant as alibi

An itinerary of the archive of colonial Panjab

chapter 3|17 pages

A death without cause

Mary E. Hutchinson's un-archived life in certified death

chapter 4|15 pages

“Standard deviations”

On archiving the awkward classes in northern Peru

part II|52 pages

Everyday as archive

chapter 6|14 pages

Brown privilege, black labor

Uncovering the significance of Creole women's work

chapter 7|15 pages

Unfriendly thresholds

On queerness, capitalism and misanthropy in nineteenth-century America

part III|54 pages

Signs of wonder

chapter 8|17 pages

Of kings and gods

The archive of sovereignty in a princely state

chapter 9|15 pages

Geography's myth

The many origins of Calcutta

chapter 10|20 pages

Un-archiving Algeria

Foucault, Derrida, and Spivak