Is Deep History White?


Pratik Chakrabarti

University of Manchester


Pratik Chakrabarti

University of Manchester


Session Abstract

The need for this roundtable emerges from the realization that the history of deep time is predominantly derived from the works of European savants. These refer to European intellectual traditions, antiquarianism and naturalism. Similarly, the histories of deep time and geohistory too are invested in European intellectual traditions, museums, institutions, print cultures and epistemologies.
Further, in deep history resides Europe's core, secular, rational, modern and ""natural"" self.
Yet, these concepts are often used to depict histories of people (living or extinct) and their livelihoods and habitats, beyond Europe and its frames of deep history.
At the same time, there is an entrenchment of deep history, more as an adjective (rather than as a noun) in Asia, South America, Africa and Australia, and in the peripheral North in their respective geomyths, naturalisms, and questions of aboriginalities.
There is also an emerging and exciting scholarship around deep history from Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. It is also essential to discuss the possibilities of using Deep history as a category within which the experiences of northern aboriginalities, of the Sami or the Inuit, for example, can also be related as antithetical to mainstream Deep histories.
We need a roundtable to take stock of what this is doing to existing ideas of deep history and if there is a need to re-evaluate its changing parameters.
The question of whether deep history is 'white' is not primarily a racial one. It is epistemological. It questions the pre-eminence of European deep naturalism.
The group will debate whether deep history is complicit in the Western appropriation of tribal nature, time, and capital; how European colonialism introduced distinct evolutionary narratives in the Philippines, how great man histories and the assumptions about race, gender, class dominate deep historical narratives, and the US appropriation of Inuit indigeneity and antiquity.

Presenter 1

Myrna Perez Sheldon

Ohio university

Presenter 2

Patricia Martins Marcos

University of California San Diego

Presenter 3

Sarah M. Pickman

Yale University

Presenter 4

Sarah A. Qidwai

University of Toronto

Presenter 5

Neil Safier

Brown University

Presenter 6

Pratik Chakrabarti

University of Manchester

Presenter 7

Emily Kern

University of New South Wales