What contemporary examples, particularly in the images we see in social media, do you think can be directly contributed to Goya’s legacy?
What contemporary examples, particularly in the images we see in social media, do you think can be directly contributed to David’s legacy?
Do the images of today, particularly in the images we see in social media or in our current political divisions, seem more/less real, believable, or emotional to you?
HBU RN-BSN Program Assignment: Healthy People Application Paper In this assignment you
HBU RN-BSN Program
Assignment: Healthy People Application Paper
In this assignment you will build from Healthy People 2020 Activity by evaluating and applying current evidence-based research regarding the impact of Healthy People.
Scholarly Resource Guidelines:
Uses References within the last 5-7 years.
References are relevant to the topic.
Uses book and/or other scholarly resources provided for the assignment.
Refer to APA Resources within the Blackboard course on the “Start Here” tab
Repeat the steps similar to the ones you’ve already taken in the Healthy People Activity as follows.
Go to the following link. http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx
After accessing the link, find the tab bar near the top and Click on “Topics & Objectives”.
Find and Click on the HP topic “Physical Activity” (PA).
Identify the goal and read the overview.
Click on OBJECTIVES tab.
Click on PA-1 sub-objective to expand to give you more information. Using the information in the listed expanded PA-1 sub-objective, go to subheading: More Information found on the left panel, Click on “Related research articles on PubMed”.
Look at the articles that fit under these objectives and were published in the 5 years. (Make sure you also select full text so that only the articles with an article in its entirety appears in your search results.)
Read and summarize the chosen article using the following criteria.
Paper must be in APA format and length should be 4-5 pages (5 page maximum including title page and reference page). Refer to Start Here in your course for APA resources for guidelines. Must follow all guidelines for margins, title page, headers, page numbers, punctuations, in-text citations, and reference page. If you are not familiar with APA set-up, you can refer to APA resources within your course.
Provide a title page. The title of your paper is NOT the title of the article. Instead, it might be:
Article Review and Application of Healthy People 2020
Provide introduction with thesis statement.
The introduction should be only one paragraph (2-3 sentences). The thesis statement is typically the last sentence in introductory paragraph.
In 1-2 paragraphs (main body) briefly summarize how the study in the chosen article applies to the Healthy People PA1 sub objective and overall goal.
PA1 Sub-objective: Reduce the proportion of adults who engage in no leisure-time physical activity
Overall Goal: Improve health, fitness, and quality of life through daily physical activity
Provide a conclusion is one paragraph (2-3 sentences). Provides main points of your summary.
Provide a reference page. The reference page is on a separate page titled: References
Finally, attach the completed APA formatted document to the assignment for grading.
Grading Criteria: See Assignment: Healthy People Application Paper Grading Rubric
Assignment: Healthy People Application Paper Rubric
Article is chosen from HP website and clearly demonstrates findings relevant to the HP overall goal and PA-1 sub-objective.
Fails to meet assignment guidelines
Briefly Summarizes study and how study applies to Healthy People PA1 sub-objective and overall goal.
Level 1 headings
Summary contains and thoroughly address all elements of content, organization, and structure; logically organized; flows well; coherent.
Summary contains most elements of content, is organized but could be improved; fairly coherent. Summary is well written, but could be more succinct; has 1-2 elements of structure that need improvement.
Summary contains some elements of content, structure, difficult to interpret meaning. Topics and ideas discussed somewhat randomly; minor sense of coherence.
Summary contains only a few or no elements of content and structure, unable to interpret meaning; no sense of coherence.
No Spelling errors
Adheres to submission length.
1-2 Grammar errors
1-2 Spelling errors
Adheres to submission length.
3 or more Grammar errors
3 or more Spelling errors
Does not adhere to submission length
Attempt fails to adhere to assignment guidelines
APA formatting (page set-up, headers, page numbers, title page, level headings, reference page)
Plagiarism (intentional or non-intentional) will result in zero.
APA format correct with no errors
APA format correct with 1-2 errors
APA format needs improvement contains 3 or more errors
Attempt fails to adhere to assignment guidelines
HIS 100 Module Four Activity Template: Historical Narratives Locate an additional secondary
Jacques Louis David and Francisco de Goya represent two very different approaches to painting, society and politics. Compare the Writing Assignment Help HIS 100 Module Four Activity Template: Historical Narratives
Locate an additional secondary source relevant to your historical event. Use all four of your sources (two primary and two secondary) to answer the questions below. Replace the bracketed text with your responses.
Identify the topic you chose to explore:
Attempt to write the APA style citations for your four sources. Include links to each source. You will not be penalized for incorrect citation format.
Compare the narratives presented in your primary and secondary sources relevant to your historical event.
Describe one narrative that has significantly influenced the contemporary understanding of your historical event.
Explain how the chosen narrative helps you better understand your historical research question. Please provide your revised research question and then explain how the chosen narrative helps you better event.
Please include your research question here (you will not be graded on this).
Histio week 6 questions. In Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic
Histio week 6 questions.
In Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (2020), Vincent Brown reimagines two major rebellions led by enslaved Africans living in Jamaica between 1760 and 1761—Tacky’s Revolt and the Coromantee War—as representing the most significant threats to the hegemony of slaveholders in the Atlantic World on the eve of the American Revolution and nearly three decades before the French and Haitian Revolutions. Instead of treating these rebellions as isolated events in the history of slavery in Jamaica and the broader Caribbean, Brown situates them at the center of slavery’s expansion and Britain’s growing militaristic empire. Based on your reading of Tacky’s Revolt, discuss how Brown introduces a new cartography of slave revolts that brings together the history of Africa, Europe, and America. In other words, how does Brown want us to think about slave rebellions as “borderless wars,” “permanent wars,” and “wars within wars”? Taken in total, how do you think Brown’s consideration of Tacky’s revolt serves to decenter metropolitan narratives on the rise of British power and humanitarianism? In what ways does Brown suggest that policy leading to the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade was not born out of abstraction, but rather from concrete developments and dramatic episodes in the colonies? What does this suggest about the subjectivity and agency of the enslaved in Jamaica? In drawing connections to previous works we’ve covered, how would you compare the cast of characters in Tacky’s Revolt to those introduced by Trouillot’s discussion of the Haitian Revolution in Silencing the Past? In what ways does Brown underscore the diversity of experiences among the enslaved and challenge the “unthinkable” (to borrow from Trouillot), relative to his reimagining Tacky’s revolt? Finally, how would you compare Brown’s framing of Tacky’s revolt to Gomez’s diasporic framing of the Black experience in Reversing Sail? Does Brown suggest a discernable relationship between wars and societal change akin to Berlin’s theorization regarding slavery’s change over time and geographical space in Many Thousands Gone?
Histo Posts D.P.- Post Silencing The Past is a book I’ve been
Silencing The Past is a book I’ve been looking forward to discussing since I saw it on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. This is my second time going through the book, and it’s one that I’m always happy to come back to. I haven’t come across many other books that make such a bold attempt at providing theories about history as a concept (outside of 19th century literature, anyway), and I think for that reason I think this might end up being my favorite reading from the semester. I’ll try to keep my comments relatively brief, but there is so much that could be said in commentary and conversation with Trouillot’s work that it would take multiple volumes to really communicate it all.
For starters, this work seems to me exactly what I would expect someone who is trained as an athropologist to come up with. I appreciated the focus on exactly how history is produced from beginning to end, starting with how sources come about, which ones are ignored or enshrined, and then later on how the past is remembered in different contexts. It’s exceptionally informative methodologically, and I haven’t come across another work of historical scholarship quite like it. Especially of note for me was Trouillot’s attention to agency of historical actors not simply to act in their own historical context, but also to function as the initiators of historical production by creating the archive from which professional historians draw. However, as he highlights repeatedly throughout the book, there are certainly disparities resulting from inequalities that determine whose perspective is privileged enough to be retold, and which ones are forgotten entirely. He highlights this process perfectly when he provides his account of Sans Souci: the writers of the material Trouillot used to recreate his life only mentioned what they thought important to the narrative as they saw it, and in so doing influenced how those sources were used in the future. Further inequalities, such as a disparity in language and literacy led to a disproportianately lower number of Haitians than, say, French scholars writing aboutn the Haitian Revolution, influencing the story even more. As Trouillot observes, these silences are a necessary part of the production of history, describing them as part of the ‘dialectic’ of history (Trouillot, 48). This is where Trouillot’s training as an anthropologist (and , perhaps, his background in theater) really shines: he is keenly aware that, psychologically, humans have to construct narrative frameworks to make sense of any sequence of events. However, even when dealing with a narrator who can be said to act entirely in good faith and with exceptional attention to detail, some things have to be left out. Many details of the events described are simply omitted by necessity because they are not viewed as relevant. And this is before conscious ideology even enters into the picture.
His attention to the silences and gaps within history does call to mind Litwack’s article from earlier in the semester, albeit with a qualification. Litwack’s emphasis is primarily normative, a statement on the way history ought to be done. This makes perfect sense within Litwack’s wider understanding of history as an emancipatory tool which seems to have developed out of his own personal activism. Trouillot was certainly a political activist himself, and I don’t think he would be far off from holding a similar view of history as having emancipatory potential. But he is also careful throughout his work to note that what he is attempting is descriptive first and foremost. He is attempting to uncover the way in which historical memory is shaped and passed down, whether through scholarly work or popular imagination.
This brings me to another point, which is that Trouillot blurs the line between academic history and popular history, between professional and amateur work. I think he effectively demonstrates that they are not entirely as disconnected as historians might want to believe. Simply put, what is going on in the wider public absolutely has an influence on historical scholarship, and the ways in which both popular and academic history are produced are affected by the same forces. I could cite any number of examples explicitly given in the book, but I’ll choose to highlight instead the context in which Trouillot’s own work was produced. Throughout the book, Trouilot chose to include discussion of Holocaust denial. This is certainly an excellent topic to cover in regard to the point he is trying to make, but I believe it was included for another reason. Trouillot’s work was published in 1995. The past decade had seen an explosion of Holocaust denial into popular (and to some extent, academic) history. Trouillot is writing 2 years after Deborah Lipstadt published her study on Holocaust denial as a phenomenon and 1 year before David Irving initiated his libel suit against her for its contents. The Mermelstein-IHR controversy had only resolved a decade earlier. The mid to late 1980’s also saw the Zündel and Keegstra trials in which Holocaust denial was thrust into public view. This was also contemporaneous with Holocaust deniers organizing themselves into pseudo-historical institutes to try and achieve the veneer of academic respectability. And I can’t help but think that the ’empricist procedures’ (Trouillot, 12) he refers to might specifically be the Leuchter Report of 1988. This controversy is something that Trouillot is very much aware of and is using as an example of a major problem with constructivism, so I think it is safe to say that he is absolutely in conversation with the popular zeitgeist in the same manner that he asserts all historical works necessarily are. This point in particular is a reminiscent of how the scholarship of Kenneth Stammp, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Richard Hofstadter was very much in conversation with the prevalent societal ideas of their time.
As a final thought, I wanted to highlight how attentive Trouillot was to many of the assumptions that are generally taken for granted in the writing of history. Of particular note in this regard is when he analogizes language and historical narrative, and I thought the following quote was worth reproducing in its entirety: “The comparison [between the language of Westerners and the people they colonized] unfairly juxtaposed a discourse about language and linguistic practice: the metalanguage of grammarians proved the existence of grammar in European languages; spontaneous speech proved its absence elsewhere. Some Europeans and their colonized students saw in this alleged absence of rules the infantile freedomthat they came to associate with savagery, while others saw in it one more proof of the inferiority of non-whites. We know now that both sides were wrong; grammar functions in all languages. Could the same be said about history, or is history so infinitely malleable in all societies that it loses its differential claim to truth?” This attention to the relative truth value of stories and the language of how those stories are told would, I think, make Wittgenstein proud.
“Silencing the Past: Power and the production of History” by Michel-Rolph Trouillot has been my favorite read this far in the semester because of the enlgihtenign perspectives displayed in terms of how history works and how the complexity of the creation of narratives and popular peceptions have driven particular narratives forward and left significant silences for others. Through three examples with the whitening of Christopher Columbus and the popular addition of his achievements into the mind of peoples personal histories being my favorite, displays the arguments between positivists and constructionists who create and drive narrative based upon different philosophies. Trouillot instead refocuses his work around the middle of these two styles of historical writing to bring to the forfront the historians job to complicate the narrative with the silences of the past. The silences of the past refers to those narratives, people, and events that have consequently recieved little coverage or have been altered by popular perceptions and the continued perpetuation of tropes and misnomers.
His example of Christopher Columbus focuses around American perceptions of Columbus as a focal point in the history of American colonization and the world’s fairs adaptation of him to meet the “whiteness” standard of the time as anti-Italian sentiment was high. In reality, the actions of Columbus across Latin America was only a small part in the larger history and beyond United States borders is not a focal point. The popular perceptions and adaptations by individuals drawing on his narrative into a unifying popular history that people identify with displays a silence in the history and ultimately ignores other historical actors and the larger picture that displays more complicated events that influence the development of history.
This may be off topic but I thought I would share as it relates back to Trouillot. Throughout my academic career, works like Trouillot’s have been the ones that have stuck out to me the most. Understanding the ways in which historians, the acadmeic community, and the wider public have influenced the coverage of historical topics is fascinating to me and has been a main point in many of my own works. For example, I am currently working on my thesis proposal and my topic relates to the Cold War, Soviet Hockey, and the Migration of athletes. I have noticed a historiographic trend in the end of the Cold War that displays agency being assigned to large historical actors and governmental administrations (in particular to Reagan and Gorbachev) during the period of major social and economic change leading up to the disollution of the USSR. The reality of my research and claim has shown that the agency of historical actors and the ability of those actors to take advantage of social change goes deeper into the public and is often displayed as the government reacting to public changes rather than influencing change. It appears that the majority of historiographic writings on the topic are silencing and simplifying the history to include a small array of historical actors when the reality shows that there were significant factions of groups within the USSR dictating and evolving the system in which they lived despite the governments stance and with personal agendas driving decision making. If Trouillot looked at the historiographic works of the end of the Cold War, I wonder what his position would be.
Relating back to our readings for this course, I think Trouillot would agree and align most with Berlin as the main focus of his work is the differentiation of peoples experiences within colonial America. Berlin uncovers the complexities of the slave experience depending on time and space in a way that I think Trouillot would appreciate and push with the narrative of uncovering silences as Berlin pushes to create local histories and tie them back to a more complicated historical narrative. In relation to Gomez, I think Gomez gives more emphasizes uncovering a hidden past in terms of creating an African American culture and bringing it to the forefront of society but I think his focus is less on uncovering silences and more on larger connections. Trouillot recognizes these connections as shown through his connection between the Haitian Revolution, the end of American slavery, and the French policies following the revolution in a way that is similar to Gomez creating a longer history but, I would argue that their aims are different. Gomez is attempting to create and craft the history of a culture while Trouillot is attempting to reorganize the thought process around historical study to emphasize the connections between events.
Trouillot’s description of his approach to history was super interesting, yet a bit confusing to me. I interpreted a part of Trouillot’s approach to studying history as navigating an accurate historical narrative that includes everyone’s perspective. This is my interpretation because he spoke about one sided historical narratives and how if historians focus on actors other than professional historians, then “we gain a more complex view of academic history itself, since we do not consider professional historians the sole participants in its production.” (25) Trouillot also demonstrated this notion of not leaving a narrative behind while discussing Sans Souci. Trouillot stated, “Almost every mention of Sans Souci, the palace, the very resilience of the physical structure itself, effectively silences San Souci, the man, his political goals, his military genius.” (48) revealing how aspects of historical narratives are left behind and how these aspects are important in gaining a better understanding and a more accurate historical narrative. Trouillot’s discussion of how power is connected to the construction of historical narratives also corresponds with the analysis of San Souci. Since San Souci was a palace built by a rich king, the societal and class inequalities between San Souci (the man, not the palace) and Henry I reveals an aspect of why San Souci’s history was ignored.
Trouillot’s examination of the Haitian Revolution was fascinating to read, specifically when Trouillot stated, “The events that shook up Saint-Domingue from 1791 to 1804 constituted a sequence for which not even the extreme political left in France or in England had a conceptual frame of reference. They were “unthinkable” facts in the framework of Western thought.” (82) Western thought consisted of placing non white people below white people on the social hierarchy, consistently referring to pure white people as “men” and asking the question “what is man?” (78) Trouillot expanded on this idea to suggest that the Haitian Revolution did more than bring Haiti freedom and establishing the first successful slave revolt in history, but challenged Western ideologies of the question, what is man? Gomez and Berlin both expanded on this idea of challenging Western thought by specifically listing ways in which enslaved people and free black people fought for a sense of humanity, while challenging the societal, political, and economic factors of slave societies. Trouillot detailed the evolution of Westerners’ reactions post revolution where Westerners ignored the revolution and instead came up with excuses on why and how the revolution occurred in order to preserve Western ideology that non-whites were inferior and incapable of leading the revolution.
Additionally, I found Trouillot’s analysis of dating history to be fascinating. Trouillot stated that, “they impose a silence upon the events that they ignore, and they fill that silence with narratives of power about the event they celebrate.” (118) Columbus day is typically celebrated by Americans and Europeans in recognition of the discovery of the Americas, but it diminishes the horrors that Native Americans along with other people of color experienced. By labeling this day with a specific date (one that wasn’t marked as a special date in Columbus’s notes), Trouillot suggests that Americans and Europeans concealed the true history behind the discovery of the Americas. Along with silencing the true histories of the discovery of the Americas, Trouillot demonstrated how nations across the world represented Columbus in different forms in order to influence the public’s view on Columbus. For example, in Spain, Columbus Day reinforced “Spain’s presence west of the Atlantic and—to a lesser extent—in Europe.” (127) and to increase Spain’s national pride. Whereas the United States painted Columbus as a “Yankee hero” (129) to initiate national pride. I thought this was an interesting analysis made by Trouillot that revealed the strategy of instilling nationalism into the public to control historical narratives.
Histo sources Source 1 Michel-Rolph Trouillot writes in the introduction to his
Michel-Rolph Trouillot writes in the introduction to his 1995 text Silencing the Past: Power and the Introduction of History that “the production of historical narratives involves the uneven contribution of competing groups and individuals who have unequal access to the means for such production” and that history “is the fruit of power, but power itself is never so transparent that its analysis becomes superfluous. The ultimate mark of power may be its invisibility; the ultimate challenge, the exposition of its roots” (xxiii). To paraphrase, Trouillot contends that historical narratives are the product of predominant social, political, and socio-economic conditions that pervade a society in any given time. The way we view the past is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves in the present, and the narratives in which we choose to believe and purport mirror the powered dynamics of belonging that define present conditions. For instance, Trouillot examines the historical silence imposed upon Colonel San Souci, an African-born Haitian military leader of rebellious slaves who was murdered by Afro-Creole Haitian King Henri Christophe. Trouillot writes that a mere “fleeting” picture was left in the historiographical record of San Souci, whereas Henri Christophe has since been ingrained in Haitian history as a highly recognizable figure revered by some and detested by others but always belonging “to the same elites that must control and normalize the aspirations of the barbarians,” reflecting what Trouillot aptly describes as “an unequal frequency of retrieval, unequal (factual) weight, [and] unequal degrees of factualness” (46, 53-5, 69). History and perceptions of history are reflective of the biases, the sensibilities, and the values of a given society, and history as both a social process and an academic field of study does not exist by itself. Rather, as Trouillot notes, history “is always produced in a specific historical context” and “changes with time and place or, better said, history reveals itself only through the production of specific narratives” (22-5).
Trouillot writes that historical production is an uneven process, and this unevenness is further perpetuated through archives and silences embedded in historical sources (44, 47). He states that “inequalities experienced by the actors lead to uneven historical power in the inscription of traces,” and “the very mechanisms that make any historical recording possible also ensure that historical facts are not created equal” (48-9). These silences, then, are further purported in the assembly of archives, as this work “is an active act of production that prepares facts for historical intelligibility” (52). According to Trouillot, archives “convey authority and set the rules for credibility and interdependence” and “help select the stories that matter,” and the “making of archives involves a number of selective operations” that entails the inclusion of some narratives and sources (52-3).
Trouillot’s theorization of historical production as an exclusive process that reflects the experiences, biases, and mores of those who produce historical narratives and the societal conditions in which these narratives are produced particularly reminded me of Harris’s article “Coming of Age.” Discussing the transformation of African American historiography, Harris notes that contemporary African American historiography is “conducted as a distinct area of inquiry, within the discipline of history, with black people as its primary focus to reveal their thought and activities over time” (Harris 118). This emphasis on Black people as discernible historical actors that was inspired by dialogues initiated by the mid-twentieth century civil rights movement is evocative of the “overlap between history as a social process and history as knowledge” and selectivity Trouillot attributes to the process in creating historical narratives, in which “any historical narrative is a particular bundle of silences, the result of a unique process, and the operation to deconstruct these silences [within traditional historical narratives and the historical record] will vary accordingly” (26-7). Given his emphasis on the correlation between historical silences and socio-political power, I am inclined to believe that Trouillot would be rather favorable to Gomez’s Reversing Sail and Berlin’s Many Thousands Gone, as Gomez’s text acknowledges the historical silences imposed upon the historical narratives of the Black diaspora and endeavors to fill these silences by examining the extensive and far-reaching history of this diaspora from antiquity to the present and Berlin’s monograph explores the evolution of Black identity relative to geo-economic, political, and historical circumstances in colonial and Early Republic histories of the United States.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Trouillot’s Silencing the Past and I find it to be an insightful text on historical production. My primary criticism is that Trouillot’s language makes it difficult to discern what he is saying at times. For instance, I found his sentence “To state that a particular narrative legitimates particular policies is to refer implcitly to a ‘true’ account of these policies through time, an account which itself can take the form of another narrative” to be a bit awkward and difficult to follow (13). While I believe Trouillot excels at incorporating academic language to articulate his information, I feel that incorporating clearer and more concise language at these points would better serve to express and piece together his overall argument.
In Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, Michel-Rolph Trouillot challenges his readers to expand the range of potential factors that contribute to making history. For example, he writes that “ethnic and religious leaders, political appointees, journalists,” and other non-historians contribute to perceptions of what constitutes history (19). He also challenges the idea that it is possible to replicate the past or retrieve facts as in a scientific study because humans cannot consistently discern or interpret the significance of events as they occur. Thus, even primary source producers are not wholly reliable narrators of their own experiences. In addition, he writes that historians can be lax in connecting geographically-isolated events to others that are critically relevant but separated by time and space (21).
Overall, Trouillot argues that the production of history is part of the story, and its inclusion reveals essential lessons about the power dynamics existing at the time events took place, during contemporary framings of events, and when historians research and produce historical narratives. He asserts that professional historians’ reluctance to consider how the production of history has misinformed interpretations of the past and present is detrimental to academic integrity (152). Therefore, historians need to look for silences that are not readily apparent to learn how power has shaped our perceptions of the past.
Some examples Trouillot uses to demonstrate the ambiguity of interpretations of the past are accepted narratives of the Alamo, the Haitian Revolution, and the “discovery” of America. In his first chapter, he briefly mentions the current debate about the symbolism of the Alamo church, next to a Native American cemetery, to emphasize how historical narratives assign power to specific individuals and events over others (9). There are many nuances entailed in the “second battle of the Alamo” debate, like how the defeat at the Alamo is trumped in historical memory by the victorious narrative of US expansion. Additionally, he alludes to the implications of ignoring a cemetery for indigenous peoples with a distinct history of European paternalism situated next to it.
Trouillot also expands our view of how revolutionary and misunderstood the Haitian Revolution was as it was happening. Its occurrence did not fit easily into Western European observers’ or Haitian revolutionaries’ expectations or conceptions of reality, making it truly revolutionary in that it set a precedent for what slave revolts or even African-descended peoples generally could accomplish at the time. For example, he describes how westerners were slow to accept the reality of the revolt wholesale, selectively choosing which aspects to adopt into their pre-existing worldviews and which to challenge (89-92). Trouillot uses this example to reinforce his primary argument that individuals have a limited capability to weigh the historical significance of their experiences as they are happening and that their conceptions of historical meaning shape their production of narratives.
Trouillot also discusses how orthodox academic interpretations reflect past and present power dynamics. For example, while Trouillot analyzes how contemporary observers’ ideologies affected their reluctance to acknowledge the agency of Haitian revolutionaries to act on their own behalf or the global impact of the Haitian Revolution, he also argues that “with the notable exceptions of Henry Adams and W.E.B. Du Bois, few major writers conceded any significance to the Haitian Revolution in their historical writings up to the 1970s” (98-99). Ignorance of the historical legacy of the revolution stalled recognition of its impact on major turning points in US history. According to Trouillot, it also fits in with a general reluctance to bring “racism, slavery, and colonialism” to the forefront of US history narratives (98). By re-examining the ways that the process of historical production can misshape our understanding of the past and re-subjugate those who fought against their subjugation, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History is an excellent addition to African American historiography studies. Like Harris, Lewis, Litwack, and Foner, Trouillot questions the legitimacy of traditional narratives that ignore the larger impact of marginalized groups. Trouillot’s analysis of traditional silences about the impact of the Haitian Revolution also fits in with Gomez and Berlin’s efforts to highlight Africans’ contributions to major historical events and challenge dominant narratives that ignore the complexity of slavery and enslaved people’s capability to exert agency despite their subjugation. Furthermore, Trouillot and Gomez help us see how events occurring outside the continental US had enormous impacts on the trajectory of US history.
As a side-note, Trouillot’s family history well positioned him to understand the political intricacies of the Haitian Revolution, and write about it as he did in Silencing the Past. His father was a prominent lawyer, television host of a show on Haitian history, and a professor in France, while his step-mother occupied the presidency of the Haiti, in 1990, at least on an interim basis; as well as his siblings being successful writers. A good link with his bio (obiturary), and one that helped me get a grasp of who he was is found on the NACLA newsletter website…which has some other pretty interesting articles over the histories of the south-of-the-border Latin American communities. Well worth a look.
His point of suggesting the production of history has a tendency to be somewhat myopic in its scope, as it is confounded by the time in which historians write, is revealing to his interesting literary compass. He acknowledges that historians are very much influenced by “outside” variables as to what is to be recorded, as being historically relevant, sometimes unduly; that they are commenting on the past through the eyes of the present. For Trouillot, this is a major concern, something his book repeats throughout, especially when writing about the history of the Haitian Revolution. Moreover, he questions the validity of such a framework for being incomplete, or even being misguided interpertations, without first questioning the complicated selection process of what is “judged to be important,” historically speaking. And, what is to be ignored, deliberately left out as being irrelevant, something he refers to as the “silencing” portion of history… historical strands not included in the complete historical account of an event.
However, this stance of his is a bit inconsistent, as he goes back and forth between what he lists as “good” silence and “bad” silence, although he never mentioned the phrase good or bad silence….that’s me. For an example, he uses the sports analogy of a sportscaster doing a play-by-play coverage of a game. He says that, in certain circustances,[s]ilences are necessary to the account, for if the sportscaster told us every ‘thing’ that happened at each and every moment, we would not understand anything.” (50) But this example of his begs the question, who determines the parameters of “good” silence or “bad” silence for that matter? For Trouillot, when he discusses the Haitian Revolution, “bad” silence was evident in the selection by historians of who the heroes were in the insurrection.
One such hero was San Souci, who had such a critical role in Haitian Independence, who had been (bad) silenced by historians. Trouillot spends a good part of his book addressing this oversight. I guess the point of his book is that so much of history, taken for granted for decades, can have embedded within it so much of this bad silence. For instance, he mentions Columbus, “who discovered America.” For Trouillot, however, this interpretation, the silencing of the consequences of this European’s actions was conceptually misguided, as the author continues, as he “prefer[red] to say that Columbus ‘stumbled on the Bahamas’…[and that the author chose to say] ‘conquest’ over ‘discovery’ to describe what happened after the landing.” (115) For Trouillot, historians’ writings must be tethered to the event’s authenticity, even ones that are distasteful. The first, and most wide viewpoint of Columbus was “inauthentic” according to him. The real history of Columbus is more of a Janus-faced reality: both as the discoverer of America, and its subjugator. Trouillot uses another example of the concept of authenticity. He points out that the representations that Disney would use in its proposed Virginia theme-park, depicting slavery, was dispossessed of authenticity to the real dehumanization that slaves “actually” experienced. And no matter how great and life-like the animatronics were, the exhibits would be deficient.