Rakesh Sengupta introduces the article ‘The Absent Archive of Screenwriting History and the Obsolete Munshi‘
Much has been written about how Foucault’s archaeology of the modern episteme, emerging from early 19th-century Europe, was curiously divorced from its context of colonialism. Media archaeology, as Foucault’s legacy, has also remained rather geopolitically insular and race agnostic in its epistemological reverse engineering of media modernity. Using screenwriting history as a case study, this article demonstrates how bringing decolonial thinking and media archaeology together can challenge linear narratives of modernity/coloniality in media history. The article connects two seemingly disparate histories of archival absence and human obsolescence to reveal the construction of an elusive screenwriting modernity that has historically obscured parallel scripting practices and pre-existing scribal traditions.