What can the past tell us about the present? This question, once the bedrock of historical enquiry, faded from the academic imagination after the post-structural turn. As utilitarian and deterministic understandings of the past came under attack for ossifying ‘traditions’, a new periodization took shape–now familiar to anthropologists and historians alike–of a post-colonial present separated from its ‘authentic’ past by the unbridgeable gulf of European imperialism and colonial modernity. The workshop aims to probe the limits of this approach by bringing together anthropologists and historians interested in exploring the manifold relationships various pasts have with the present day world. The workshop will focus on Muslim societies as the primary context to conceptualize the interplay between historical inquiry and analysis of emergent social forms.
Friedl 225, East Campus, Duke University
For call for papers, speakers, and schedule, visit the workshop website. The workshop is sponsored by Duke Cultural Anthropology, Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke Islamic Studies, Duke Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, and Duke History Department.