UNESCO, Nubia, and the Recolonization of Archaeology
(Cornell University Press, 2022)
Picked as a History Today book of the year 2022.
To order with a 30% discount in North and South America, visit Cornell University Press and use the '09BCARD' code above.
To order with a 30% discount in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, visit Combined Academic Publishers and use the 'CSVF2022' code above.
Flooded Pasts examines a world famous yet critically underexamined event—UNESCO's International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia (1960–80)—to show how the project, its genealogy, and its aftermath not only propelled archaeology into the postwar world but also helped to "recolonize" it. In this book, William Carruthers asks how postwar decolonization took shape and what role a colonial discipline like archaeology—forged in the crucible of imperialism—played as the "new nations" asserted themselves in the face of the global Cold War.
As the Aswan High Dam became the centerpiece of Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egyptian revolution, the Nubian campaign sought to salvage and preserve ancient temples and archaeological sites from the new barrage's floodwaters. Conducted in the neighboring regions of Egyptian and Sudanese Nubia, the project built on years of Nubian archaeological work conducted under British occupation and influence. During that process, the campaign drew on the scientific racism that guided those earlier surveys, helping to consign Nubians themselves to state-led resettlement and modernization programs, even as UNESCO created a picturesque archaeological landscape fit for global media and tourist consumption.
Flooded Pasts describes how colonial archaeological and anthropological practices—and particularly their archival and documentary manifestations—created an ancient Nubia severed from the region's population. As a result, the Nubian campaign not only became fundamental to the creation of UNESCO's 1972 World Heritage Convention but also exposed questions about the goals of archaeology and heritage and whether the colonial origins of these fields will ever be overcome.
Histories of Egyptology:
Histories of Egyptology are increasingly of interest: to Egyptologists, archaeologists, historians, and others. Yet, particularly as Egypt undergoes a contested process of political redefinition, how do we write these histories, and what (or who) are they for? This volume addresses a variety of important themes: the historical involvement of Egyptology with the political sphere, the manner in which the discipline stakes out its professional territory, the ways in which practitioners represent Egyptological knowledge, and the relationship of this knowledge to the public sphere. Histories of Egyptology provides the basis to understand how Egyptologists constructed their discipline. Yet the volume also demonstrates how they construct ancient Egypt, and how that construction interacts with much wider concerns: of society, and of the making of the modern world.