So I have a tentative interview scheduled for the history chair at a local high school which, coincidentally enough, I substitute taught at a few years back. Well, considering the size of the town maybe it’s not that coincidental. But either way. Progress! I will be interviewing my contact about how the Triangle Trade is incorporated into local curricula, if it is, if state intervention in the curricula led to any changes in how the Triangle Trade is taught, how he might advocate alternative ways of teaching about the Trade, etc. Fun times. Hopefully this will inform, at least in part, the museum education part of my dissertation. In the meantime, a blast from a few weeks past, below the fold. (more…)
Not reinventing the wheel, Part Deux. With pictures! Friday, Aug 30 2013
Hating the Dutch isn’t just for Austin Powers’ dad anymore. Tuesday, Aug 27 2013
So. As previously stated, a common theme I’ve discovered when researching the history of slave owning patriots, particularly those living in Western New England, is fobbing that hatred off onto New York (and, by extension, the Dutch, who would ultimately be forced to give way to Anglo Americans). I therefore think it might be useful to explore this a bit. I’m not sure if this will be a major part of my dissertation/research, or if it will be an aside for my own edification and knowledge. Still, I think it worth to listen to the voice of an enslaved woman who experienced the realities of Dutch colonialism herself, an orator known to history as Sojourner Truth.
The Significance of the Underground Railroad Monday, Aug 19 2013
This summer in Western Massachusetts I’ve noticed a recurring theme while discussing my research. No sooner do I parrot my elevator speech (“I focus on memories of the African-American slave trade and how they are embedded in roles, rituals and aesthetics in Atlantic World sites such as the Caribbean and New England”) than the person I’m talking to immediately says something along the lines of “you know, I just took a tour of this house that was on the Underground Railroad.”
Slavery in Western MA and New York as container Saturday, Aug 10 2013
In my last post I discussed projecting slavery in the Northeast onto “undesirable” or “loser” groups by way of containing it. Or, if you will, in the service of sanitizing the overarching narrative of American history. During my Masters program at Brandeis I did a lot of research into how slavery in Cambridge (and the overall Boston area) is projected onto loyalists. Lately I’ve been trying to examine how slavery is contained and where it is projected when we discover that (gasp) patriots either enslaved Africans or were complicit in their enslavement.
A Pilgramage Tuesday, Dec 20 2011
By the midpoint of my month in Barbados my research had, out of necessity, expanded beyond the scope of one man. I had originally thought to research the “cult of personality” I figured may have centered around Bussa. That was not to be the case. Aside from being more or less equated with the Emancipation Monument and being classified as a “national hero,” average Bajans didn’t seem all that concerned with him. I wasn’t exactly sure why I thought they might be. It’s not as though I walk around all day chanting “Thomas Jefferson” in a zombie-like trance.
Nelson versus Bussa Wednesday, Nov 16 2011
Alright. It occurs to me that in my previous post I forgot to include a link to the Bussa statue. This might therefore be as good a place as any to outline the differences between official history and public memory as reflected in monuments and aesthetics in Barbados. I do this by exploring two major concepts inspired by Greenblatt’s resonance and wonder: visibility, and accessibility.
The 1816 Rebellion Wednesday, Nov 9 2011
In the 1990s a Guyanan-born sculptor by the name of Karl Broodhagen unveiled his memorial to the 1816 slave rebellion (also known as Bussa’s Rebellion): a statue of a slave, crouched and with broken chains hanging from his wrists, in the middle of the JTC Ramsey Roundabout just north of Bridgetown. It was, to put it mildly, a source of controversy. Why might this be?