Most of the archives referenced in the narratives of these three contributors are implicated in acts of resistance and dissent, as well as in building solidarity. Absences, dispersal, excess and contradictions are thus deliberately not elided or glossed over but are instead understood as evidence of the difficult conditions under which they were formed. Archives that derive their logic from and consciously inhabit the states of incompleteness and changeability can thus lay bare the precariousness of power as exercised through and disguised by ‘official’ archives. They also help us to think of other forms of archiving in which the relationship between the past and the documentary record is framed as inherently unsettled. As dispersed, community-owned and co-constituted institutions, archives of dissensus open possibilities of imagining the very institution of archive anew.
*“On Archiving as Dissensus” is the title of Ann Laura Stoler’s essay in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2018; 38 (1): 43–56.