An article titled “Archival Ethnography and Ethnography of Archiving: Towards an anthropology of riot inquiry commission reports in postcolonial India” authored by Dr. Salah Punathil, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Regional Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been published in the journal, History and Anthropology, which is ranked 17th in History, and 18th in Anthropology journals according to Scopus data.
This paper examines the challenges and possibilities of combining archival and ethnographic methods in the field of “communal” violence studies in India. Drawing insights from debates among historians and anthropologists on the multifarious interactions between archives and ethnography and reflecting on the empirical case of persistent violence between Muslims and Christians in southern India, it argues for a creative synthesis of these two modes of inquiry for an adequate understanding of “communal” violence and riot inquiry commissions in India. First, the paper critiques how colonial and postcolonial Indian archival reports problematically inscribe violence between any religious communities (such as Muslims and Christians) in the same narrative as the predominant case of Hindu-Muslim conflict. Second, it illuminates how archival ethnography can be an effective way of studying violence between religious communities and thus transcend conventional disciplinary boundaries. Finally, the paper introduces a nuanced approach, called “ethnography of archiving”, to detail the judicial and non-judicial discourses and bureaucratic manoeuvring involved in the creation of an archival report, thereby unravelling the power relations, mediating processes, manipulations and bureaucratic performances that make commission reports problematic even today.
History and Anthropology journal is published by Taylor and Francis Ltd. and is a peer reviewed journal that continues to address the intersection of history and social sciences, focusing on the interchange between anthropologically-informed history, historically-informed anthropology and the history of ethnographic and anthropological representation.
The link to article- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02757206.2020.1854750