". . . 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, December 11, 2008

The World That Made New Orleans in "The Nation"

Two books are reviewed in this long article on colonial New Orleans: Shannon Lee Dawty's Building the Devil's Empire and The World That Made New Orleans. Most of the article is given over to TWTMNO. This is splendid for a book that was published 12 months ago.

You can read it here.


Frank Partisan said...

Good that The Nation recognized Ned's book.

I should talk to the community radio station in Minneapolis, to do an interview about that book.

Foxessa said...

The reviewer labels Vaquero a "sonic sleuth!"

Interesting that the author of the article is a doctoral study in geography. Geographers have really admired and approved of this book, including a geographer who teaches in Sweden, and has used parts of the book in one of his courses.

It's also interesting that the only negative was the treatment of Jefferson -- though then he says, though the 'historiography is wrong' -- huh? -- his conclusions and descriptions of the results are correct. That doesn't really make sense, but nevermind.

The only criticism the book ever gets is about the attitude of the author toward Jefferson!

Love, C.

K. said...

A review has to complain about something, I suppose. Is it just me, or do they often bring up a book's treatment of Jefferson as either overly adoring or too negative?

Foxessa said...

I've never seen anyone criticized for being too good to Jefferson -- unless it comes from an African American perspective, which is the perspective from which we perceive Jefferson and opening of the Louisiana Territories to slavery.

But even so called 'leftists' tend to criticize historians and critics for an over-emphasis on the place of slaves and slavery in Jefferson's biography. Which seems ridiculous to me.

Love, C.