The author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, a narrative history about indentured women, discusses researching and narrating the lives of subjects missing, at least in their own words, from the archives. She reflects on the possibilities of the personal and the present, along with alternative oral and visual sources, as strategies for navigating elisions and biases in the written records of the past. She also argues for the present as justification for working with incomplete and biased archives. The essay draws parallels between African storytelling in the Americas and Indo-Caribbean storytelling and claims the twin tropes of the violence of archive and the fictions of the archive, already elaborated in the historiography of slavery, for the context of indenture.

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