Discourse is violence

“Historians have tended to treat the distinctions between raw material and writing in terms of a methodological problem and not in relation to their formation in a colonising logic. Perhaps historians, too, should follow the example proposed by Jose Rabasa, and consider refining the commonplace knowledge is power with the equation discourse is violence. Similarly, Qadri Ismail has argued that history is not just an argument about change through time, but one about progress. History is, according to Ismail, impossible without colonialism. This is not, as I understand it, a call to ‘abandon history.’ Rather, it is an invitation to explore the connections between fact and faith or the disciplinary condition by which an archive produced under conditions of colonisation is filtered, processed, and repackaged only to give rise to the subaltern effect. This is to demand that history’s relation to colonialism itself be subjected to sustained critique.”

-Premesh Lalu, The Deaths of Hintsa: Postapartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring Pasts, 263.

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