". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, July 10, 2011

*Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860*

By the brilliant Richard Slotkin, of course.

Every page has material we need to know about ourselves.

Has any other country ever done studies of its own historical companionship with violence and how the violence is expressed culturally, politically and economically through its centuries?

What else am I reading right now?

Research Materials:

Deliver Us From Evil: The Slavery Question in the Old South (2009), by Lacey K. Ford, Oxford;

The Memory of the American Revolution in the Politics of the Civil War (2008) by Jonathan B Crider, B.A. A Thesis In History;

"Horses and Gentlemen: The Cultural Significance of Gambling among the Gentry of Virginia." Author: T. H. Breen. The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Apr., 1977), pp. 239-257. Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.


The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Hemingway -- listening to it, that is, while working out.;

God's War (2011) by Kameron Hurley, a first novel; it's Sf, not Fantasy.

One wonders if the author's read Donald Kingsbury's 1982 Hugo nominated Courtship Rite? She may not have been born in 1982 ... Or Dune, for that matter, and surely she wasn't born in 1965; her parents might not even have been born in 1965. For reasons I cannot pinpoint, the inclusion of 'cantina' in her world context unsettles and throws me out of the world everytime it is used, even though I know it entered Spanish from Italy in the 17th century. It is a most interesting world, despite that.  It doesn't seem to be a YA novel, as the protagonist is in her 30's, and on Umayadan women are old at 40.  The novel is well written. So many books I look at these days I put back because the writing isn't yet  professional quality, even though they are published by a professional publisher, and though it's not trumpeted in the cover text, are YA, not adult novels.

This first novel is as gritty as anything of Mr. Abercrombie's and Mr. Martin's. The reader doesn't feel the author is trying for that effect, but it emerges synergistically out of the world the author created. This "HooRahrahrah teh boyz invent gritty realistic fantasy with blood and guts and suffering and stuphs that ain't purty," is tiresome. Women have been doing gritty a long time, in every damned form there is. It's impossible to be a woman and not be aware of gritty. Give birth.  Prepare the dead for burial. Cleanup a battle field.  Women's work.

What We Are Reading To Each Other (also Research):

Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution (2006) by Charles Rappley.  This book focuses upon a single family of Providence, Rhode Island in the decades running up to the Revolutionary War, the conversion of one of them who captained slave ships to Africa, his conversion as a Quaker, manumitting his personal slaves and his example persuading the rest of the family to give up the slave trade and slavery.  All this against a background of ever increasing hostilities between the British navy and the Rhode Island colonists.  It's filled with vivid detail of time and place and action, beautifully researched and written.  It reads aloud very well.

Many of us don't realize that of the colonial slave trade ships outfitted here in the lower 13 colonies, nearly 90 % were out of Rhode Island. Nevertheless the number sent from the colonies was about 2% of the ships out of Europe participating in the slave trade -- very small in the overall trade. The colonies just didn't have the materials that the Africans would accept in trade for slaves; but Rhode Island's connections to the Caribbean gave them molasses for making rum, and thus they had the distilleries -- rum was a prime trading payment.

Rhode Island was also the colony where fleeing conversos from Spain and Portugal found refuge; they too financed and invested heavily in the African slave trade out of Rhode Island. I am guessing here at the moment --  I don't have primary research on that yet now, but Baruch College and the NY Jewish Historical Society here have quite a bit of related material (including the papers of Aaron Lopez) -- this why or how 'the Jews' have so often been accused of running the colonial slave trade. But I do know their numbers were few.

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