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In the essay Minority Histories, Subaltern Pasts, historian Dipesh Chakrabarty defines  “subaltern pasts” as pasts that evade historicization by eluding authorization by the so-called  “rational” historian. This may be because a past does not produce enough evidence, or the right kind of evidence, to confirm the knowledge that it suggests. Chakrabarty compellingly engages a textile metaphor, describing subaltern pasts as knots in the fabric of history. Even as marginal histories do not become a part of mainstream history (i.e. the knot is separate from the fabric), the subaltern shows us the texture and logics of history. 

Sour Solvents responds to the notion that there are multiplicities that exist within, beyond, and despite the histories and realities that we know. This piece does so, using sugar materially and metaphorically to engage the layers of pasts that are absorbed into our present. As Chakrabarty uses the “knot” to describe how we come to know the weaving of history, Sour Solvents plays with notions of dissolution to show the many histories that constitute the present, expanding and critiquing how the past remains, even as we may not always sense its presence.