History and the Nation

Professor Sarah Ansari, Royal Holloway University of London; Pakistan
Project status

History as an academic discipline has so far largely failed to connect with a resurgent interest on the part of Pakistani civil society in the construction of richer and more complex identities through cultural activities, arts and heritage preservation. This recent trend offers a unique opportunity to strengthen and re-invigorate history's place in Pakistan's cultural and political landscape if a new generation of historians is to fruitfully engage with public history as a new way to contributing to the development of sustainable and well-grounded identity positions.

This workshop aims to address these issues, with the overall goal of increasing the confidence of a cohort of early career academics whose work in future years is likely to make a difference to history’s survival in Pakistan as a rigorous scholarly discipline. The workshop’s broad theme, History and the Nation, will invite contributions in three interrelated areas:

a) new and innovative ways of telling Pakistan's national 'story' that are better capable of accommodating complicity and difference;

b) academic analysis of the politics of history in Pakistan, for instance in a 'history of history' in Pakistan or an analysis of public uses of histories since 1947; and

c) the intersection of academic research and public history in areas such as heritage preservation, school curricula and historical memorialisation.

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