Silencing the Past

This week’s reading got me very excited! For one I am a self-confessed history nerd, and so knowing that we were going to A) read something that is somewhat current and B) written by someone who is not from Europe! (although I love Europe but its nice to switch things up.) As I began reading, so many things jumped out to me. I love how boldly he explains history’s many faults and interpretations. One thing that stood out to me was the idea that history is always written by the winner. History is taught with a bias, and as generation after generation is taught through only one lense, it begins to morph the actual event into fiction.

I find it very interesting that even today North America is so ethnocentric. We have such a fixed view of the world and other people, that any history told by another source is not credible. It struck me that even current problems in Canada right now like the true ‘history’ of the Residential Schools is only now being brought to light. Prior to the recent outcry from the Aboriginal communities, Canada excluded this horrific event in our history, and at the most depicted it in textbooks as less damaging than it truly was. The reason this event was so well covered up was most likely because of the ignorant way in which history is taught. If the truth does not make the story-teller look good, then it won’t be shown.

Just some tangents for now,


1 thought on “Silencing the Past

  1. Not tangents at all–very relevant reflections! I think Trouillot’s argument leads to an even deeper point, though, that even when we get alternative narratives of history those, too, are told from a particular perspective according to what people find important in the present. He would have to admit that his own historical narratives are like that too. All history requires some silencing, he says (49), since you have to leave some things out for the story to make sense. What I wonder, though, is whether he might claim that his narratives, which uncover silences created by past histories but nevertheless produce other silences, are somehow better than the usual histories of Haiti, for example. I think possibly so, but I’m not sure. And if so, on what basis?

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