Article | June 1, 2021
Read more about `Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History`
In her new book, Times Monster: How History Makes History, Priya Satia discusses the pivotal role of the discipline of History and its practioners in the British Empire’s legitimating enterprise. British historians, she argues, provided the language that not only defended imperial expansion but proclaimed it as a moral and ethical force in the world. The debris of those ideas continue to impact and shape our politics today – long after the formal end of colonial rule. However, though history could be a handmaiden to empire, Satia shows that historical thinking could also be used to question, subvert and ultimately delegitimize imperial claims. What results through her discussion is a rich intellectual history that spans over three hundred years of imperial history, taking the reader from the imperatives of the Enlightenment to the politics of decolonization and its aftermath. This spring we invited four scholars of varying expertise and interests to discuss this work. In what follows, each of them reflects on the book’s arguments and propositions, closed by a response from Professor Satia. We thank the participants for their time and engagement and hope that readers find the discussion thought-provoking.