How do we connect the past with the present to address structural problems? While the pursuit of a cause-and-effect past flowing into the present contributes to the understanding of an event or object, how that past is recalled, represented, related, disconnected, suppressed, and/or obfuscated in any given present matters. This article proposes palimpsests as a critical tool for analyzing the many histories of the present. To illustrate this theoretical practice, the article offers a palimpsestic reading of a museumized object, the Nubian Temple of Dendur, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The structural nature of a history of the present comes into view only when one is able to discern multiple histories, presents, categories, and objects layered together within the palimpsest of history.

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