Anthropological and archaeological enquiry are shaped by the historical times in which they are formulated. This collection of essays examines how mainstream scholarship constructs the past - in the case of anthropologists, usually the past of other peoples. By creating another people's cultural history, scholars appropriate it and turn it into a form of domination by one group over another. Mainstream scholarship has often failed to recognize the intellectual and scholarly contribution of subjugated peoples. This volume looks at the way 'postcolonial' scholars are redefining the nature of scholarship, and themselves, in order to develop a more egalitarian discourse. Social Constructions of the Past examines labour, race and gender and its relationship to power and class. It includes essays on a broad range of topics, from the role of intellectuals in restructuring a non-apartheid South Africa, to Haitian working-class women using sexuality to resist domination.
George C. Bond is Professor of Anthropolgy and Education at Teachers College and Director of the Institute of African Studies at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York. Angela Gilliam is Professor of Anthropology at the Evergreen State College, Washington.