I…think writers in general and maybe historians in particular must ask themselves what the implications are of the narratives they/we write. Do they, in their rhetorics, affirm already under-examined perspectives on peoples? Are those rhetorics proof of what historian Ira Berlin wrote…? In other words, do the rhetorics, the languages, of history transfix?
The title of this post is ironic as I’m not sure there is anything natural about one person “owning” another. However, as I transcribe contraband camp registers, noting next to each freedperson the name of their “former owner,” I am lending regularity to something that would otherwise feel very strange. … Continue Reading The Nature of the Work of Transcribing Slave Names