True crime TV shows back in the day offered sober disclaimers assuring anxious listeners that “names have been changed to protect the innocent.” As our listeners know, here on HAG we prefer calling things by their true names, and those who commit the crimes, are most definitely getting called out. That guarantee holds true even when the criminal accomplices are historians. Our guest this week is the distinguished Stanford University professor, Priya Satia, whose extraordinary book Time’s Monster: How History Makes History, makes the case that “historians were, for a long time, not only the scribes of empire but also its architects.” Historical writing has often fed the historical imaginations of statesmen, generals, and businessmen whose business it was to feed the growth of empires and national expansion, often with destructive results, from war to genocide. History itself, in other words, is no innocent in history, but rather as the subtitle of Professor Satiya’s book proclaims, history also makes history.
Join us for an episode with Priya Satia, one of our vital scholarly voices.
Sources Referenced and Items of Interest
Priya Satia, Time’s Monster: How History Makes History (2020)
“A Man Of His Time, And Ours: Winston Churchill’s views were typical of his place as a member of Britain’s ruling upper class, which, then and now, views dominance as a birthright.” (June 22, 2021 NOĒMA Magazine)
“Fascism and Analogies — British and American Past and Present” (March 16 2121 Los Angeles Review of Books)
Kim Wagner & James McDougall, “Don’t mistake nostalgia about the British Empire for scholarship” (April 20. 2018, Times Higher Education)
Timothy Snyder, “The War on History is a War on Democracy” (June 29, 2021 New York Times)
“For much of the modern period, historians have not been critics but abettors of those in power.”Priya Satia