Between @DavidOlusoga fantastic 'Forgotten Slave Owners' based on the UCL research on compensation records, & @ColonialCountr1 working hard with @nationaltrust to present the slavery that built so many 'heritage sites' the heritage racism connection is more open. But there's more
Because archaeology & heritage both were developed as part of the imperial project, colonial perspectives pervade. These ways of thinking perpetuate racism even when working with earlier material. So here's a handful of tropes where a racist present makes the past it needs >
I RT one already 'what did the Romans do for us' Empire as a gift, resistance to empire as a joke, and technological development as the aim of society all neatly rolled up in a package everyone will remember and yet calling it out makes you look like you need to 'lighten up' >
This also establishes the overall position that the past is a fascinating diversion from the real issues of contemporary life, rather than a place we can understand how power and inequality were established and maintained, and how they were resisted >
But we don't need imperial pasts to do #EmpireBoosting Prehistory is still a realm of 'savages' in the public imagination. The racist #ancientaliens tripe that @DSAArchaeology works so hard to counter flows from mainstream view of the 'mysteries' of megaliths like Stonehenge >
The give away word in these racist tropes is 'primitive' as in 'how could our primitive ancestors have built this amazing structure' So we don't seek to understand these people, but only the 'mystery' of how they could confound our low expectations >
While we're in prehistory let's talk about 'our ancestors' this framing of the prehistoric people emphasises lineal descent, despite the fact that we know that people have always been mobile. The embedded racism was exposed in the 'shock' at @Boothicus research on #CheddarMan >
There's plenty more that racists use prehistory for, but let's move on to 'medieval' that term regularly repurposed as an islamaphobic slur. Running from the 'dark ages' as we descended into post colonial savagery to the superstitious tribalism of Pre-Reformation religious life >
There has been a lot of work on the term 'Anglo-Saxon' and the ways that medieval heritage is weaponised by the far right, and once again, this is an issue that begins with mainstream understandings that we inherited from the foundational work of the discipline >
There are, of course, many more of these tropes, do add your 'favourite' & I should emphasise that archaeologists, historians & heritage scholars have all challenged all of them. They don't match current understanding. But their persistence helps heritage prop up white supremacy.
I should say that I should have tagged a lot more people in this rant - I've just scooped up thoughts that so many people are working on - these are not my observations
You can follow @Sarah_May1.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: