Priya SatiaDec 17, 2020
How History Makes History
Harvard University Press 2020
How we see the past helps shape our understanding of the present. In the realm of statecraft and empire, understandings of the meaning of history, the progression of time, and the end to which it moves justified and produced the British imperial project. This story is the subject of Priya Satia’s groundbreaking new study, Time’s Monster: How History Makes History (Harvard University Press, 2020).
Satia tracks the ways in which new Enlightenment ideas of history, time, and civilizational progress helped men who thought of themselves as good confront the moral challenge that imperial violence posed. The book demonstrates how a wide variety of thinkers, stretching from the eighteenth century to the present, thought about and through history to uphold, contest, and remake British imperialism. Its nuance, its breadth of material, its insight, and its relevance to the present all make this book unmissable.
Jonathan Megerian is a doctoral candidate in history at Johns Hopkins University. He works on late medieval and Renaissance England. His dissertation explores the role of historiography in the formation of imperial ideologies in Renaissance England.