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Decolonising archives, decolonising history: A roundtable conversation

Venue: Online

How do archives reflect the hierarchies and power differentials that shape contemporary societies? How are these asymmetries obscured by conventional approaches to historical research and writing? Have the conditions of the global pandemic, structural racism and inequality, and other constraints on access changed possibilities for historical inquiry? In what ways can current and future students transform our approaches to archives and, at the same time, history? How can our pedagogy embrace and support these changes?

By addressing these questions, this roundtable workshop aims to spark conversation in and beyond academic communities about the role archives might play in the future of history. It acknowledges and brings together a growing dialogue in the historical study of decolonisation processes, as well as a wider conversation about decolonising knowledge, archives and the academy. In this roundtable, the participants will discuss these questions in the context of their own archival experiences – as researchers, practitioners of archival sciences, or as activists.


Reem Abou-el-Fadl, Department of Politics and International Studies (SOAS)

Thula Simpson, Department of Historical and Heritage Studies (University of Pretoria)

Pascale Ghazaleh, Department of History (American University in Cairo)

Mark Deets, Department of History (American University in Cairo)

Olivier Schouteden, Department of History (American University in Cairo)

The event is chaired by Hilary Sapire and Joseph J. Viscomi, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (Birkbeck).


The event is free but you need to book so we can send you information on how to join. 



This event is part of the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology's Discover the Past events series, open to the public and students. To see the full list of events, visit the Discover the Past web page.

The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck has a distinguished tradition as an international centre of excellence. We are the only university department in London to include archaeologists, classicists and historians investigating every period from prehistory to the early twenty-first century. Join us to discover the past and engage with the present across continents and cultures.

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