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Recuperative Archives, Critical Resistance, and the History of the Senses in the Atlantic World  

Andrew Kettler

Atlantic history is frequently aided within the project of recuperating subaltern voices within the archives through the methods of sensory studies. The history of the senses allows for a reading of embodiment at both individual and group levels of analysis, which helps historians of the Atlantic World find pathways toward the recuperation of the oppressed in a newly critical archive while also avoiding the trap of an overtly romantic historical analysis of resistance through the methods of structuralism. The history of the senses finds a political voice with a prominent desire to remake the archive through understanding human experience in all its negative and positive formulations, as in numerous studies of indigeneity, religious practice, royal performance, enslavement, and labor for the Atlantic World. Postcolonial and postmodern readings of race, class, and gender inform these discussions of sensory history through attention to social construction, performance, and diverse readings of fiction as vital to any recuperative archive. These sensory aspects of the archive within the Atlantic World offer new paradigms for thinking about activist history in the face of advanced forms of percepticide during these accelerating stages of late capitalism.