Recording: Remixing Revolution with Philly’s South Asian American Digital Archive: Irish, South Asians – and Anti-British-Imperialism – From Philadelphia

March 23, 2021

Reiterating the alliances between South Asian Americans and Irish Americans in early 1900s Philadelphia shows us the power of re-learning an accurate history. On Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, Remixing Revolution with Philly’s South Asian American Digital Archive highlighted how the lessons from this history could be implemented within the classroom. The event was co-sponsored by the PA Council for International Education and the Community-based Global Learning Collaborative housed in the Haverford College Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.

Siobhan Lyons, a former Irish Diplomat and President of Philadelphia’s Citizen Diplomacy International, began the night with her introduction on the solidarity in common struggle against British imperialism, connecting India with Ireland. Soon after, we heard from Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Senior Lecturer at Penn GSE, as well as Imran Siddiquee, a filmmaker, writer, speaker, and activist who collaborates with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA).

Imran’s walkthrough of the SAADA historic Philadelphia tour’s key aspects demonstrated the power of storytelling to restore history that has been previously obscured. One such story is of Anandibai Joshi, the “very first South Asian woman anywhere in the world to receive a Western medical degree,” from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Building off of the power of storytelling, we heard moving songs written by South Asian American musical artists inspired by these often untold stories. Both these stories and songs are then used in the curriculum for 9th and 10th grade history classes that Ameena has created. The two 50-minute lessons that she has devised asks students to read through popular primary texts from the early 1900s that would erase the alliances formed between different ethnic groups, locally and globally, in resistance to British Imperialism. 

Remixing Revolution showed participants both the power of storytelling and of art in recounting full pictures of an erased past. SAADA’s devised curriculum, which meets common-core standards, are easily accessible tools for teachers to then implement critical examinations of whose historical narratives are dominant into their classrooms. In a time of potent re-examinations of history such as now, inspired by the resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, it is critical to be equipped with the resources that SAADA brings to youth, teachers, and beyond to inspire and further social change.

– Valentina Zavala-Arbelaez, Haverford College class of 2021

00:00 – Welcome and introductions from Eric Hartman

03:19 – Siobhan Lyons shares a reflection on the ties between Irish and South Asian anti-British imperialism efforts

06:49 – Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher introduces SAADA’s Revolution Remix walking tour and curriculum

08:35 – Imran Siddiquee highlights stories from SAADA’s walking tour

22:52 – Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher discusses the development and content of the Revolution Remix curriculum

37:58 – Q&A

 

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