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Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies pres.

EIHS Lecture: The Pen and a Sea of Pearls: Decolonizing Contemporary Historical Storytelling

Samia Khatun, SOAS, University of London

Samia Khatun Samia Khatun
Samia Khatun
A racist assumption powerfully shapes many history books today: the idea that European knowledge traditions and Enlightenment sciences are superior to the epistemologies of the peoples once colonized by European empires. In this lecture Professor Khatun will explore methodologies of historical storytelling that seek to decolonize contemporary knowledge production about the past. Reading Bengali-language narratives of popular history that have enjoyed oral dissemination throughout the Bengal delta and sometimes across an Indian Ocean realm, Professor Khatun will show that we can use colonized peoples’ historiographical traditions as keys that offer escape from the prison house of colonial-modern thought.

Dr. Samia Khatun is a writer, filmmaker and cultural historian whose documentaries have screened on national broadcasters SBS-TV and ABC-TV in Australia. She was born in Dhaka, educated in Sydney and has held research fellowships in Berlin, Dunedin, New York and Melbourne. Her first book, Australianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia was published in December 2018 and was shortlisted for the Ernst Scott Prize for History. She is currently embarking on a new project about the spinners and weavers of eighteenth-century Dhaka. In September 2019, Samia will be taking up the position of Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Free and open to the public.

Presented in partnership with the Center for South Asian Studies. This event is part of the Thursday Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.

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