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.
Slavery in Western MA and New York as container Saturday, Aug 10 2013
American History and the Containment of the Narrative Friday, Aug 9 2013
Or at least that’s what the working title of what I’m trying to research is. I dunno. It’s clunky isn’t it? The only thing I’m sure I like (or at least I think I like) is the word “containment.” See, what I’m trying to get at is . . . you know what? Just keep reading. Some of what I’m saying you’ve probably heard before but I’ll try and narrow it down so that I’m not engaging in complete regurgitation.
“History is written by the winners.” Friday, Jul 26 2013
Uncategorized 7:10 pm
How often have we heard that? I know that I’ve heard it multiple times, in multiple contexts. The thing is, it’s become so trite (at least to some) that it starts to sound at best like a catchy bumper sticker and at worst like a pointless whine. After all, isn’t that what our society about? Competing and, ideally, winning? The trouble I face in my life as an academic researching historical/cultural narratives is how to complicate this axiom but in an approachable way. Warning: below the fold lie the krakens of my convoluted thought process.
The end of the limen. Friday, Jul 26 2013
Uncategorized 6:41 pm
So. The actual “school” part of grad school ended up being a lethal combination with work, side projects, and my general tendency towards laziness whenever anything resembling the possibility of procrastination presents itself. Either way, this blog found itself in the realm of most of my blogging projects — briefly shiny and interesting, but ultimately relegated to the attic. Like that toy you begged your parents to get you, and they did, and you end up playing with the talking pull-string Roger Rabbit doll for 45 minutes until it eventually ends up under your bed next to the model dinosaur and the pile of decepticons.
Speaking of me referencing Roger Rabbit and decepticons, guess who’s officially entering his early/mid 30s in less than a month?
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?