15
November
2011

“Silence” and “Absence”0

“Silences in the creation of sources, trouillot refers to plantations records of births in which slave births were not recorded until it was seen that the child survived.” – Bastian

The “Whispers in the Archives: finding the voices of colonized in the records of the colonizer,” Bastian brings attentions to the pros and cons of archives. Cons as in how sometimes history can be easily edited depending on writer and the records he/she chooses to write from. It can sometimes leave out things that the writer believed to be unimportant when it could have been a “cultural significance” a few generations after.  That’s where the “silent voices” comes into mind. With things edited out, it “is not a history forgotten, bu tone that was never recorded, therefore not remembered.” “A historical hole where the history of ‘other’ never existed.” “The writing of history is so dependent on who is reading, interpreting, and selecting the records.”

On the other hand, archives are pros in terms of  offering a “path to discovering those voices and constructing” the views of identity and cultural history.

In “Neither Lost nor Found: Slavery and Visual Archives,” Best focuses on the “absence” of archives.  An “archival aporia,” where sometimes archives can bring doubt into history? Aporia means an expression of doubt. Was that what Best meant?

According to Best, there are two types of absence. One with “the records are either there or not there,” can be recovered if lucky (or found if lost) and another that is impossible to recover.

“The absence of direct photographic evidence of enslavement acquires its own substance and significance”

I believe either Bastian or Best, (I forgot which or perhaps even both) had mentioned that most of the stories or photographs were biased towards the plantation owners. That true history of “enslavement” was not directly shown. That was a con to archives. How history is written by the winners at the time. It wasn’t until after slavery was abolished did more works/ documentary were published or filmed on behave of the victims during slavery. For example, the founding fathers would have been terrorists if they had not won the revolutionary war. (no offense =])

“The writing of history is so dependent on who is reading, interpreting, and selecting the records” – bastian

If i remember correctly, there was a term for the losing side’s publications. Can’t really remember the term right now.

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