". . . 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, October 24, 2013

The American Slave Coast - Bristol

El V has wangled a half day in Bristol.  This matters because it was the third great center of the slave trade industry, along with Liverpool and London.

We're starting revisions to The American Slave Coast manuscript via Skype.  All the mentions in it of Bristol leap out of the text. One example: Beau Walker, Dubya's slave-trade forbearer, was a Bristol slave ship captain -- a particularly cruel one, by contemporary accounts.  He came to an appropriately bloody and violent end, one created entirely out of his own character and behavior.

In the meantime I'm making ridiculous errors in England and Wales's history as I try to clue el V into some of it, from which he could perhaps pick good bits to include in his presentation (it's one way to say publicly that one appreciates and recognizes the honor it is to be invited to come to a place not one's own to speak in public).  Medieval and Renaissance English and Welsh history are so very far away from my own areas of expertise.  It's just that they are even further from his ... and I've always been very interested in those eras though never able to do any focused study -- it takes decades to master a period to point one might begin to acquire the expertise of an historian.  Because these aren't our areas of specialty we don't have professional friends to call on either.  So I've bolloxed up enormously Plantagenets, Tudors, the House of York, the House of Lancaster, Owen Glendower, Owen Tudor, The Wars of the Roses.

Harri Tudur; 28 January 1457 – 21 April 1509

At least I can recognize I am getting things wrong, but I know I'm not noticing other things ....  That's the only positive thing I can manage to say about this. It is beyond vexing to not know everything!

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