Silencing the Past

by kthai

In history there are events that occurred and the events that are recorded. I do agree that parts of reality become silenced in the process of documenting history. There are a range of factors : who wrote it, why did they write it, etc. Even if they aren’t obviously biased, most people write through their own lens and have influences that can alter their views of what has happened. Then you add power into the mix, and see how powerful forces can silence some viewpoints in favour of others. I’m aware of these ideas in general, but I like that we’re going to delve into the concept of “the past.” Various accounts of events are recorded today through social media, people with access to technology are able to publicize their views. I wonder if that makes people more aware of the idea that there can be more to an event than what becomes part of the “corpus” that then produces “history.” I suppose power still remains as a factor, the narrative that is agreed upon and becomes widespread comes from those who have more power and influence. Those without technology today will have a harder time publicizing their narrative, in that way they are still silenced. Historians and history teachers do have a hand in what becomes important to people learning of history. I was surprised to find, for example, that many people did not go through extensive education about Aboriginal peoples of Canada and were unaware of what happened in residential schools. I just thought it was common knowledge, and then I come to see that parts of history that aren’t taught are also silenced.

Looking forward to hearing more about this, I hate not being able to make it to lecture :/