Sanjay Seth, a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, has arrived at the IHC as a visiting researcher, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, with the aim to question whether the discipline of history can legitimately play the role of arbiter when controversies arise in the public life of colonised and colonising countries.
“This project examines instances where past events and processes become subject to public debate, such that the discipline of history – assigned the task of representing the past – finds itself challenged by raucous public contestations that often deny the discipline’s claims to intellectual authority”, writes Sanjay Seth in an article published on the Leverhulme Trust’s Annual Review. The researcher will use India (former colony), Australia (settler colony) and Portugal (former coloniser) as case studies.
After completing his education in Sydney and Canberra, Sanjay Seth held positions at the University of Sydney and La Trobe University (Melbourne), as well as a Fellowship at the University of Tokyo. Since 2007 he has been a Chair in Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London. His repeated trips to Portugal, some of which at the invitation of the IHC, brought him into contact with the public debates on history in our country, which gave rise to this project and research visit.
In 2022, the Imprensa de História Contemporânea [Contemporary History Press] published its essay collection “História e Pós-colonialismo. Ensaios sobre Conhecimento Ocidental, Eurocentrismo e Ciências Sociais” [History and Postcolonialism. Essays on Western Knowledge, Eurocentrism and the Social Sciences]. The book suggests that the concepts and categories through which we seek to understand the world were born in the course of modern European history and were developed to explain this history, namely to make sense of the social and intellectual transformation that we have come to call ‘modernity’. It is available, in open access and in Portuguese, at this link.
Picture: Sanjay Seth at the launch of the book “History and Post-Colonialism”, in Lisbon (Credit: Diana Barbosa).
Deadline: 20 November 2023
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