Unsettling Knowledge Podcast

From the Dutch ‘rijsttafel’ to contested street names, from the Eurovision Song Contest to sports and racism, the new "Unsettling Knowledge" podcast reflects on how empire and colonization have shaped contemporary society and culture. 

 

Together, hosts Dr Rachel Gillett and Dr Matthijs Kuipers, speak with scholars, community members, and experts, to uncover traces of empire in the present and confront controversial topics head on with those involved. 

Episode 9 - Decolonising the Archive: Sites of Memory or Manipulation?

Most historians venture into the archive at some point in their careers, and to many historians this is an exciting and enjoyable task - a highlight. But the archive can also be a confusing and bewildering place. When studying oppressed or marginalized groups, the sources we encounter in the archive are often written by colonial administrators and military officials who constructed those systems of oppression. That is if we can find records on them at all. So how do we find the voices of historically oppressed peoples within the archive and serve them well in our research?

 

In this episode, Dr Rachel Gillett and Dr Frank Gerits speak with Dr Robin Mitchell and Stevie Nolten to explore how the archive can be a violent place, to discuss the role of white privilege in archival exploration, and to examine what “making the archive accessible” actually means. Robin Mitchell and Stevie Nolten reflect on how we might redress and repair harmful colonial record-keeping and archiving practices - and perhaps transform them...

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

  • Is the archive a site of historic truth or a site that hides truths?

  • What ethical dilemmas arise in the provenance of many modern colonial archives?

  • To what extent has the archive shaped our view, in the Anglo-European context, of how enslaved people and other victims of empire lived their lives?

  • What voices are included and excluded from supposedly “national” archives and how does this affect a nation’s sense of self?

 

Check out Robin’s book Venus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France  https://ugapress.org/book/9780820354323/venus-noire/ and her Twitter https://twitter.com/parisnoire

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett and Frank Gerits
Sound by Malina Yallanki and Edan Simpson
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)
Production assistance from Malina Yallanki and Edan Simpson
Special thanks to our guests Dr Robin Mitchell and Stevie Nolten

Episode 8 - Scotland and Empire: Colonist or Colonised?

The history of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom is inextricably linked to the history of Empire; one of the key justifications for the 1707 Act of Union was to allow Scotland to trade with England’s expanding colonial empire. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Scotland was at the forefront of British colonial expansion, sending colonial administrators, troops, and missionaries in service of Britain’s imperial project.

 

Now though, the British Empire is no more; the percentage of those adhering to a “British” identity in Scotland is decreasing; and Scottish nationalism and support for independence is rising. In light of this, how can Scotland engage with its imperial legacy, and how might the Scottish nationalist movement approach the sensitive issues of Scotland’s colonial past? How can a former imperial country such as Scotland approach the language of national liberation?

 

In this episode, Dr. Eva Schalbroeck and Edan Simpson speak with Professor Nigel Leask and Dr Ewan Gibbs to explore Scotland’s imperial history, how the dual Scottish-British identity affects colonial memory, and they delve into Scotland's imperial baggage and how it is connected to proposals to end the Union of the United Kingdom.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

  • How much is the history of the British Empire also Scotland’s history?

  • Is it appropriate for proponents of Scottish nationalism to use the language of imperial resistance in relation to the Independence movement?

  • Does the dominant position of England within the United Kingdom provide a convenient scapegoat for Scottish/Irish/Welsh involvement in Empire?

 

Check out Ewan’s new book ‘Coal Country. The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialisation in Postwar Scotlandhttps://www.history.ac.uk/publications/ihr-books-series/new-historical-perspectives/coal-country-meaning-and-memory-deindustrialization-postwar-scotland-ewan-gibbs
 

Check out Nigel’s collaborative exhibition and book of the same title with The Hunterian ‘Old Ways New Roads: Travels in Scotland 1720-1832’ for links to the book and recordings of the featured talks. https://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/visit/exhibitions/virtualexhibitions/oldwaysnewroads/ 
 

READING LIST:

  • Cat Boyd: It’s about time Scotland confronted its own racist, colonial past

https://www.thenational.scot/politics/15486882.cat-boyd-its-about-time-scotland-confronted-its-own-racist-colonial-past/

  • Liam Connell: Scottish nationalism and the colonial vision of Scotland

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369801042000185705?journalCode=riij20

  • Colin Kidd & Gregg McClymont: Scottish independence essay: Say No to colony myth

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/scottish-independence-essay-say-no-colony-myth-1529744

  • Wee Ginger Dug: The question no-one asks about Scottish independence: what will England do?

https://www.thenational.scot/news/18732503.question-no-one-asks-scottish-independence-will-england/

  • Gerry Hassan: The legacy of Empire is not just about the past but all about present day Scotland and Britain

https://www.gerryhassan.com/blog/the-legacy-of-empire-is-not-just-about-the-past-but-all-about-present-day-scotland-and-britain/

  • Nigel Leask: REVIEW Imperial Scots (Tom Devine)

https://www-jstor-org.proxy.library.uu.nl/stable/25472800?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

  • Harry Josephine Giles: Scotland’s Fantasies of Postcolonialism

https://www.thebottleimp.org.uk/2018/07/scotlands-fantasies-of-postcolonialism/

  • Tom Devine: The Break-Up of Britain? Scotland and the End of Empire: The Prothero Lecture

https://www-jstor-org.proxy.library.uu.nl/stable/25593865?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

  • Neal Ascherson: Scotland, Brexit and the Persistence of Empire (in Embers of Empire in Brexit Britain eds Stuart Ward and Astrid Rasch)

 https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/book/embers-of-empire-in-brexit-britain/ch7-scotland-       brexit-and-the-persistence-of-empire?from=search

  • Jackie Kay: Missing Faces

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/mar/24/featuresreviews.guardianreview25

 Professor Nigel Leask https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/critical/staff/nigelleask/

 

Dr Ewan Gibbs https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/staff/ewangibbs/
Plus for Ewan’s Twitter click here https://twitter.com/ewangibbs?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor



ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Eva Schalbroeck and Edan Simpson
Sound by Rachel Gillett and Malina Yallanki
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)
Production assistance from Rachel Gillett and Malina Yallanki
Special thanks to our guests Professor Nigel Leask and Dr Ewan Gibbs

Episode 7 - Museums and the Legacy of Empire

Today, thousands of African artefacts that were stolen during the colonial era are enclosed behind screens of glass in western museums. Removed from their communities and natural environments, the ongoing display of these artefacts perpetuates colonial violence. Museums are now facing this difficult and violent past, and their own role in it, as they grapple with their colonial history. What is an appropriate and ethical response?
 

In this episode, Dr. Rachel Gillett and Malina Yallanki speak with Professor Dan Hicks and Subhadra Das to explore the legacies of empire in museums, the ‘controversy’ surrounding the possession of colonial artefacts, and how museums, as institutions, might move forward.
 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

How do museums exist as legacies of empire? What are the cultural implications of displaying looted artefacts? Is it enough to just return stolen artefacts? What does it mean to decolonise museums?
 

Check out Dan’s new book The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution here: https://www.plutobooks.com/9781786806840/the-brutish -museums/
 

Check out Subhadra’s podcast series titled What does Eugenics mean to us? here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/racism-racialisation/what-does-eugenics-mean-us
 

MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

Professor Dan Hicks: https://twitter.com/profdanhicks
Subhadra Das: https://twitter.com/littlegaudy


ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett and Malina Yallanki
Sound by Stephan Venmans
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)
Production assistance from Edan Simpson and Malina Yallanki
Special thanks to our guests Professor Dan Hicks and Subhadra Das

Episode 6 - Unsettling Bridgerton: Race, Representation, and Royalty
 

The popular Netflix show ‘Bridgerton’ has gained much attention having been praised for its grand designs, luxurious costumes, entertaining plotlines, plus its ‘inclusive casting.’ Set in 1913, the show features a diverse cast, portraying wealthy and elite characters as well as less privileged characters. In this sense, the show aspires to have created a universe that is partly based on history and partly based on fiction. While race, colonialism, and slavery have not disappeared in this fantasy, they are not completely addressed either. Instead, ‘Bridgerton’ walks a fine line in which race is presented as a simplified issue that is solved as a “Black King fell in love with a white Queen.”

In this episode, Dr. Rachel Gillett is joined by guests Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall, Angela Tate, and Rohini Jaswal as they take a look at the ways in which race is presented in the show, examining its successes and its failures, the importance of representation, and the way in which Black History is and should be presented on screen.


Check out Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall’s book here: https://www.upress.state.ms.us/Books/S/Slave-Revolt-on-Screen
 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Does historical accuracy matter in entertainment shows? What is inclusive casting? Why does representation matter? How should Black History be portrayed on screen?
 

MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

  • Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan

  • Indigo by Beverly Jenkins

  • Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn

  • Loyal League series by Alyssa Cole

  • Migrations of the Heart series by Piper G. Huguley

  • Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera
     

Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall: https://twitter.com/DrSepinwall

Angela Tate: https://twitter.com/theglamacademic

Rohini Jaswal: https://thetab.com/author/rohinijaswal

 

ABOUT

Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)
Production assistance from Edan Simpson and Malina Yallanki
Special thanks to our guests Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall, Angela Tate, and Rohini Jaswal.

Episode 5 - Behind the Book: ‘Visions of African Unity’
 

In this episode, host Dr. Rachel Gillett discusses the new publication titled “Visions of African Unity” with editors Dr. Frank Gerits, Dr. Matteo Grilli, and chapter contributor Dr. Onianwa Oluchukwu Ignatus. The edited volume sheds light on the long history of African unification. Chapters written by scholars from a range of disciplines show how ideas of African unity shaped Cold War and African liberation struggles. Our conversation in this episode reflects on the process of the book’s development, delving into concepts of ‘Pan-Africanism,’ and ‘Afro-Optimism.’ We discuss the experience of accessing important archives and weigh in on whether African Unity is possible.

Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects is out now! https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030529109

Dr. Frank Gerits is Assistant Professor in the History of International Relations at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research focuses on the diplomatic history of territories that were formerly colonised. He previously held postdoctoral positions at New York University, USA, and the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

 

Dr. Matteo Grilli is a postdoctoral fellow in the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He specializes in decolonization and Pan-Africanism and is also working on the history of European migrations in Africa. He is the author of Nkrumaism and African Nationalism: Ghana’s Pan-African Foreign Policy in the Age of Decolonization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

 

Dr. Onianwa Oluchukwu Ignatus is an independent researcher and member of the Research Team Routledge Encyclopaedia of African Studies. Graduate of the University of Ibadan, his research focuses on Diplomatic History, War and Peace, Military History, and the Nigerian Civil War. He is author of Chapter 8 in Visions of African Unity titled ‘In Between the Cold War Politics: The OAU Consultative Committee and Anglo-American Diplomacy in the Nigerian Civil War, 1967–1970.’

ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)
Production assistance from Edan Simpson and Malina Yallanki
Special thanks to our guests Dr. Frank Gerits, Dr. Matteo Grilli, and Dr. Onianwa Oluchuckwu Ignatus. 

Episode 4 - The History of Racism: Teaching during the #BLM Movement

 

In 2020, the murder of George Floyd by a police officer evoked a mass public response in the U.S. and beyond. It sparked global protests against police brutality and against racist violence. Local anti-racist movements and campaigns throughout Europe called on their communities, gathered support and worked in solidarity with #BLM groups in a wave of protests and actions. One result was to expose the invisibility of discussions of racism and racialisation in national education systems and call for educators to address these topics and conversations in the European context.

In this episode, Rachel and Matthijs reflect on the experience of teaching a course on the history of racism, during the peak of 2020's #BLM protests. They do so in conversation with student guest Stuart Duncan, and with contributions from other students in that class.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Why is teaching about the history of racism so important? How do we give space to current social injustices surrounding race within the classroom? How do students feel about their educational experience of learning about racism?

BONUS
Check out our additional episode to hear more voices from our students about their experience studying the history of racism during the Black Lives Matter movement.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Charleston Syllabus: A diverse reading resource for teachers and students to learn more about the history of racial violence with insight into global white supremacy, black resistance, and racial identities. https://www.aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/

  • The Black Curriculum: A social enterprise that aims to deliver Black history by providing a curriculum and free licensable resources for schools. https://theblackcurriculum.com/

 

ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett and Matthijs Kuipers
Sound by Stephan Venmans
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)
Production assistance from Edan Simpson and Malina Yallanki
Special thanks to our student guests especially Stuart Duncan, Ruben Vogel, Jonas Schiffer, and Niamh Munglani.


Episode 3 - Anticolonialism and Pandemics


Pandemics are often thought to be 'great levellers', but as the current coronavirus shows us, they don't hit people equally. In this episode, we explore two historical cases where pandemics, and the fight against them, were intertwined with colonial and anticolonial politics. Rachel brings forward the case of Te Puea, a Maori leader who became a nationwide beloved figure in New Zealand during the outbreak of Spanish Flu in 1918/1919. Matthijs recounts the story of Indonesian nationalist and anticolonial leader Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, who was employed as a 'native doctor' during the 1910 plague in Java.



MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
 



ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett and Matthijs Kuipers
Sound by Stephan Venmans
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)

Episode 2 - Racism in Football 


Why is racism so rampant in football? Why did recent cases spark more reactions than usual? And what's wrong with the monkeys in an Italian anti-racism campagin? We discuss these questions with guests John Oliveira and Irene Blum.

 

MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE

ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group
Hosted by Rachel Gillett and Matthijs Kuipers
Sound by Stephan Venmans
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)

Episode 1 - INDO-DUTCH CUISINE  

 

What is the difference between the Indonesian and Indo-Dutch restaurants you see in The Netherlands? What role does food play in the Indo-Dutch community? And what has colonial history to do with it? We discuss these questions with guests Jeff Keasberry and Josina Heuvelsland.


Mentioned in the episode: 

 

 

 

ABOUT
Brought to you by the UGlobe Decolonisation Group: www.decolonisationgroup.com/
Hosted by Rachel Gillett and Matthijs Kuipers
Sound by Stephan Venmans
Music by CarlosCarty (CC-BY-3.0)