I have to admit, I went to this talk because I low key want Akala to be my husband and wanted chance to see him provoke discussion in real life. Did not disappoint, but the star of the show was Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History at Oxford . My likkle brain cells were in for a treat.
Following his book The Silk Roads, Professor Frankopan gave an overview of how the history curriculum in the UK has been majorly whitewashed and even fabricated to paint certain European histories in a certain light. How are we missing such contributive parts of history? From my understanding, The Silk Roads are pathways that connect the East to each other and are representative of different routes in history that I know I didn’t have any clue about ( I haven’t read the book…).
Once the hall had been given this summary of Silk Roads, Professor Frankopan then conversed with Akala about how this applies to our society now and how Brexit has influenced the way and context we view things. For example, people are often under the impression that ‘ethnic minorities’ are a drain on resource, but are unaware that immigrants from Jamaica and India (who were British colonies at the time) had to pay for themselves, unlike the Irish and Polis, to get into the UK. This was primary around the idea of what ‘Britishness’ is and what cultures could be moulded around this. This was seen in history with the greeks and romans, they didn’t come to the UK and decide to build pillar and statuesque models statues, this was adopted by us later on. Not gonna lie, this point of view didn’t even cross my mind.
We are so aware that the East offers some of the most richest economies in the world, and yet we still seem to think that we are globally indestructible. It’s all a bit of a madness lol.
I think I definitely came away from this lecture with a a more open minded view on things. Akala made it clear that in terms of the UK catering to multi ethnicities, we’re not bad, I mean we could be better, but we’re not the worst. I feel like I was ignorant to the contributions of other societies than my own because you become very accustomed to your surroundings. It was bought to light that Iran had a larger ratio of women to men in engineering and ‘Indian aunties in saris’ were able to build tech that was on par with NASA.
I’m not going to pretend like I am now an expert in the current and future mindsets of our country, but I defo felt a bit educated. Made a bit of a change from binging on Netflix. If you ever get an opportunity to go to talk or workshop that will help broaden your thinking, just do it!