". . . 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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Michel-Rolph Trouillot

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU is hosting a conference from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (March 1) in memory of distinguished Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot. (Michel-Rolph Trouillot's words are the sticky at the top of Fox Home.)

It begins with a performance by Gina Athena Ulysse, and the keynote, from 4:30 to 5:30, is by Colin Dayan, author most recently of The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons as well as the memorial piece "Remembering Trouillot."

Among the other benefits attending this benefit is spending quality time with Haitian historians, scholars and intellectuals.  Despite all of terrible tragedies and other obstacles, Haiti's intellectual class is among the most brilliant in the world.  When it comes to history, they have a perspective that is invaluable, particularly for those of us who have been brought up in the tunnel-visioned, myopic view of U.S. history: history is the U.S., and it is exceptional, triumphant -- and always good for everyone everywhere.

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