The practice of archaeologists and other heritage specialists to embed with the US military in Iraq has received critical attention from anthropologists. Scholars have highlighted the dire consequences of such a partnership for cultural heritage protection by invoking the imperialist dimension of archaeological knowledge production. While critical of state power and increasingly of militarized para-state actors like the self-proclaimed Islamic State, these accounts typically eclipse other forms of collaboration with non-state organizations, such as private military and security companies (PMSCs). Focusing on the central role of private contractors in the context of heritage missions in Iraq since 2003, I demonstrate that the war economy's exploitative regime in regions marked by violent conflict is intensified by the growth of the military-industrial complex on a global scale. Drawing on data from interviews conducted with archaeologists working in the Middle East, it becomes clear how archaeology and heritage work prop up the coloniality of power by tying cultural to economic forms of control.
Heritage politics and private military contractors in Iraq
Maria Theresia Starzmann
Kudzai P. Matereke
This paper urges readers to rethink the notions "mobility" and "travel" with an eye to how they may help us craft a more supple discourse of cosmopolitanism. The majority of cosmopolitanism discourses privilege mobility and travel experiences of subjects in the metropolis and sideline and downplay those of the postcolonial (and especially rural) subjects. The paper attempts to broaden the discourses of cosmopolitanism by a critical interrogation of Kant's cosmopolitan ideal and its implications for postcolonial societies. It identifies a "postcolonial moment" of cosmopolitanism that is largely ignored in mainstream analyses. This moment can be glimpsed by exploring two narratives of rural villagers who break free from their epistemic enclosures. This moment can only be fully appreciated by deploying broader conceptions of "mobility" and "travel" which capture not only these concepts' corporeal connotations, but their imaginative and virtual connotations as well.
Colonial Bureaucratic Violence, Identity, and Transitional Justice in Canada
Jaymelee J. Kim
While traditionally underrepresented in transitional justice studies, anthropological study of culture, ethnography, and processes can contribute valuable insight into colonial bureaucracies and dynamics of power. This article uses an ethnographic approach and a colonial bureaucratic violence theoretical foundation to analyze negative perceptions of transitional justice at the ground level. Participants included facilitators, government officials, nonprofit organizations, and Indigenous community members; research occurred during implementation of transitional justice (2011–2014) for a period of 12 months. Specifically, I argue that the relationship between transitional justice and colonial bureaucratic violence encourages negative views of transitional justice. Instead, ethnographic data first reveals that bureaucratic processes within transitional justice challenge Indigenous identities. Second, Indigenous survivors in British Columbia, Canada, largely view transitional justice on a continuum of colonial bureaucratic violence. Using a colonial bureaucratic violence framework, this article provides insight and nuance into perceptions of transitional justice at the local level.
Differences of Theory, Similarities of Practice?
Patricia M. E. Lorcin
The concept of nostalgia in relation to empire is usually analyzed as a longing for former imperial and colonial glory, thus eliding the full spectrum of hegemonic practices that are associated with empire. Focusing on the postindependence narratives and practices of France and Britain, this article distinguishes between imperial nostalgia and colonial nostalgia, arguing that the former is associated with the loss of empire—that is, the decline of national grandeur and the international power politics connected to economic and political hegemony—and the latter with the loss of sociocultural standing or, more precisely, the colonial lifestyle.
Mimetic Governmentality, Colonialism, and the State
Patrice Ladwig and Ricardo Roque
Engaging critically with literature on mimesis, colonialism, and the state in anthropology and history, this introduction argues for an approach to mimesis and imitation as constitutive of the state and its forms of rule and governmentality in the context of late European colonialism. It explores how the colonial state attempted to administer, control, and integrate its indigenous subjects through mimetic policies of governance, while examining how indigenous polities adopted imitative practices in order to establish reciprocal ties with, or to resist the presence of, the colonial state. In introducing this special issue, three main themes will be addressed: mimesis as a strategic policy of colonial government, as an object of colonial regulation, and, finally, as a creative indigenous appropriation of external forms of state power.
Surveillance and the African Immigrant Community in France, 1960-1979
By the early 1960s, an increasing number of Africans migrated to France from their former colonies in West Africa. Most were men hoping to gain employment in several different industries. Their settlement in Paris and other cities signaled the start of "post-colonial" African immigration to France. While scholars have analyzed several facets of this migration, they often overlook the ways in which France's role as a colonial power in West Africa impacted the reception of these immigrants after 1960, where surveillance played a critical role. Colonial regimes policed and monitored the activities of indigenous populations and anyone else they deemed problematic. The desire to understand newly arriving immigrant groups and suspicion of foreign-born populations intersected with the state's capacity to monitor certain groups in order to regulate and control them. While not physically violent, these surveillance practices reflected the role that symbolic violence played in the French government's approach to this post-colonial immigrant population.
The Recent Jason Jones Judgement in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago’s anti-gay laws can be traced back to British colonialism and European imperialism. Their existence today and their consequences for human lives in Trinidad and Tobago during the past one hundred years are a local entanglement of historic global hierarchies of power. On 12 April 2018, in the High Court of Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago, Justice Devindra Rampersad, in a form of judicial activism, trod where local politicians have not dared and intervened in such coloniality by delivering a legal judgement upholding the challenge by Jason Jones to the nineteenth-century colonial laws in Trinidad and Tobago that criminalise homosexual relations and same-sex loving.
In this article I will centre the historic and ongoing resistance of Indigenous girls to violence through colonial policies and practices. I challenge conventional intersectionality scholarship by foregrounding anti-colonialism and Indigenous sovereignty/nationhood. Using examples from my own work, I illustrate the manifestation of colonial power and persistent resistance in the lives of Indigenous girls. Through these stories, I will discuss the everyday practices of witnessing and resisting the discourses of risk. Red intersectionality will be offered as one way forward in relation to my ongoing work on violence.
A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers
Travis Warren Cooper
Missionary Society, a pan-national, colonial-missional institution in East Africa. Published just after Comaroff’s (1985) Body of Power , Taussig’s (1986) Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man —an impressionistic, postmodern blur of a monograph that
Religious Leaders and Secular Borders in the Colonial Levant
Alexander D. M. Henley
The colonial view of Levantine society as a mosaic of religions established lasting precedents for communal self-governance and power sharing in modern states. Yet it ironically disguises the extent to which the region's religious geography was reimagined by colonial rule. Principles of religious freedom and minority rights combined with a perception of 'oriental religions' to create a unique and powerful place for religious leaders to govern. The borders that would define national societies in Palestine-Israel, Lebanon, and Syria also remade the boundaries by which the religious mosaic was structured. This article will highlight institutional change in the Maronite Christian and Sunni Muslim communities, showing how each reformulated its religious leadership in response to the creation and enforcement of Lebanon's borders with Palestine and Syria from 1920 to 1948. The 'traditional' religious leaderships of today are in no small part products of the same colonial 'lines in the sand' within which nations were formed.