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2022 John Hope Franklin Legacies event to reconsider role of historian in contemporary world

Banner image: Undated photograph of John Hope Franklin (with green tint). University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-09790, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.


“Reconsidering ‘The Historian in the World’:
A John Hope Franklin Legacies event featuring Laurent Dubois, Robin D. G. Kelley, and Romila Thapar
Moderated by Ranjana Khanna

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. EST
Monday, February 7, 2022

On October 27, 2007, two pre-eminent historians had a wide-ranging and remarkable conversation at Duke University. Among other topics, they discussed the commonalities shared by historians in such different fields as ancient Indian and modern American history; the role of interpretation and method in the writing of history; the constraints presented by periodization, nationalism, and Eurocentrism; and how they found themselves embroiled in controversies over school curricula and history textbooks that emerged as cultural flash points.

These historians were the late John Hope Franklin, pathbreaking scholar of African American history, and Romila Thapar, world-renowned expert on ancient India, who was in residence at the Franklin Humanities Institute for the 2007-2008 academic year. The event was “The Historian in the World.”

On February 7, 2022, the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) will revisit the “The Historian in the World” through the lens of the present, with remarks from distinguished historians Laurent Dubois (UVA), Robin D. G. Kelley (UCLA), and, joining us once more, Romila Thapar (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Emerita), whose work continues to complicate nationalist narratives. FHI Director Ranjana Khanna will moderate. Please see speaker bios here.

This event is part of the John Hope Franklin Legacies Series and part of an ongoing effort to reactivate and reexamine archival materials from FHI’s past. Please join us!

In the meantime, the recording of the 2007 “The Historian in the World” and its transcript are available to interested audiences, but neither watching the video nor reading the transcript are necessary to understand or appreciate this event.

Co-sponsored by the Department of African and African American Studies and the Department of History

Reconsidering the Historian in the World event poster