Nomads in World History [F-18-46]

Presenter: Abye Assefa
Location: SLU: Piskor 214
Classes: 1 Session 1.5 hours
Dates: Fri 10:00 AM 09/14
Status: Course Closed

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In mainstream historical imagination, Nomad and Barbarian are used interchangeably with negative connotations. The same perspective qualifies Settled and Civilized with positive associations. The polarized pairing of nomad/ settled and barbarian/civilized is flawed and counterproductive. Pigeonholing the nomad and the settled into permanently antagonistic categories has not only stigmatized the nomadic and venerated the settled; it has also generated a skewed interpretation of world history. While “settled civilization” is acknowledged as the realm of history, “nomadic barbarian” is painted as a non-historical void. As a result, nomadism a crucial phenomenon and nomads as salient actors are erased from the annals of social-historical imagination. The objective of this course is to bring the nomadic factor back into focus to establish a more coherent picture, not only of transcontinental material conditions of pre-modernity, but also of the transoceanic relational processes of the modern world-system.

Abye Assefa is a professor of sociology at St. Lawrence University. He is originally from Ethiopia. Abye received his PhD in Sociology at SUNY Binghamton. (His dissertation title: Nomads in World History: Towards a Paradigm of Premodernity.)

CAP: 20

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