course

This seminar attempts to understand how histories may contribute to 'forgetting' as well as recovering, and the making, breaching, and enclosing of categories and boundaries in the last two centuries. It is motivated by ongoing mobilizations in many parts of the world around competing narratives of entitlement and loss. It is consequently about power and perspective, and alignments and realignments between power in its various forms and associated sensibilities of (dis-)possession. Towards this broad end, we will attempt to view trajectories of modern politics, memory, and historical scholarship in interactive frames, in particular the forming and deforming of empire, nation, and other possible political communities and containers over the last two centuries. Could the fraught, conflict-ridden, topsy-turvy politics of our time be a blowback against how solidarities and tensions along crisscrossing lines of race, religion, class, and gender were mobilized and manipulated by liberal-despotic European colonial, international,and 'domestic' political systems? Can historians engage and make a difference?