Indentureship’s Ghostworld: Re-imagining the Coolie Archive | Wahab | Visual Ethnography
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Indentureship’s Ghostworld: Re-imagining the Coolie Archive

Amar Wahab


How do we creatively re-imagine the productive presence of ghosts in the coolie archive? This photo essay revisits the early experimental period of Indian indentureship (1845- 1848) in Trinidad through artistic installations—based on the transcripts of an inquiry into coolie misery and death. The author conducts a creative ‘archival ethnography’ to think about questions around coolie transience and the in/visibility of absented presences in the official record. In doing so, the essay attempts to stage an affective-political circuit of intelligibility to contemplate the ghostworld of indentureship. It is this ghostworld (as another worldliness) that is crucial for understanding the coolie archive as living, contiguous, and counter to official knowledge production.


coolie; indentureship; Trinidad; ghostworld; archival ethnography; Kunduppa; transience

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ISSN Print 2499-9288
ISSN Online 2281-1605
Publisher Edizioni Museo Pasqualino
Patronage University of Basilicata, Italy
Web Salvo Leo

Periodico registrato presso il Tribunale di Palermo con numero di registrazione 1/2023