Issue 23.2, May 2008

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Essay Excerpt

In this forum we turn to the enduring quality of imperial remains and what they render in impaired states. This is not a turn to ruins as memorialized and large-scale monumental “left overs” or relics – although these come into our purview as well-- but rather to what people are “left with”: to what remains, to the aftershocks of empire, to the material and social afterlife of structures, sensibilities, and things.  Such effects reside in the corroded hollows of landscapes, in the gutted infrastructures of segregated cityscapes and in the micro-ecologies of matter and mind. The focus then is not on inert remains but on their vital refiguration.  The question is pointed:  how do imperial formations persist in their material debris, in ruined landscapes and through the social ruination of people’s lives? 

Stoler, “Imperial Debris”