Archaeological (non?) alignments: Egypt, India, and Global Geographies of the post-war past

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This article demonstrates how the politics of non-alignment and multilateralism intersected with the making of scientific knowledge about the past after the Second World War. The article shows how post-war political (re-) arrangements helped to realign not only the geographies of that knowledge, but also the people who could claim expertise in making it. The article concentrates on events during UNESCO’s International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia, which took place during the 1960s and 1970s in Egypt and Sudan in response to the flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. Discussing the Egyptian excavations carried out during the work by the Archaeological Survey of India, the article shows how the campaign offered the chance to realign—if not entirely non-align—the ways in which knowledge of the past was made, circulated, and justified. Carrying out archaeological work in another non-aligned nation-state not only represented a favourable international intervention for India, but also allowed the country to rearrange colonial logics of archaeological knowledge production to its advantage and to claim expertise in their use. The Archaeological Survey of India then attempted to perform this expertise elsewhere and thereby bolster the post-partition narrative of a “greater India”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalSouth Asian Studies
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Archaeological survey of India
  • Egypt
  • Nubia
  • expertise
  • non-alignment

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