General Question

LauratheRockStar's avatar

Does anyone know of any major authors who write about the importance of seeing yourself represented in history?

Asked by LauratheRockStar (182points) June 4th, 2009

Okay sort of specific and academic but:

I need some background research/theory on how it is detrimental to a sense of belonging (or national identity) if you don’t see yourself or your group represented in the nations history.

I sort of take this as a given but I need to cite actual authors and am having trouble finding them. Any ideas.

Specifically about history texts.


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10 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Michel Rolph Trouillot, Anibal Quijano, and Frantz Fannon write generally about that theme in relation to Afro-Carribeans and how the “history” was written only by the French back in the day.Silencing the Past, by Trouillot has a whole chapter about this Haitian military leader who has basically been erased from history because his story doesn’t jive with the popular conception of the Haitian revolution.

(You might get further by consulting with a sociology professor. If there’s a name for this phenomenon, you might even find whole books about it.)

PandoraBoxx's avatar “national identity” alienation

bea2345's avatar

A useful beginning would be an examination of historiography, the study of how historical knowledge is transmitted and preserved. Assuming that your interest is chiefly in US history, Howard Zinn is a lively and readable author: A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present. Follow the bibliographic references: they should lead you to the materials you want. A book that was required reading for everybody at the University of the West Indies at one time (and probably still is) was British historians and the West Indies by Eric Williams (1966), an introduction to the art and science of (mis)representing history.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know about authors who wrote about the importance of seeing themselves in history (that sounds rather narcisstic), but I have heard of an author who wrote about the importance of being ernest. Or was it Earnest? Oscar Wilde, perhaps?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I don’t know what you are looking for quite specifically but you might try looking at these articles. It is about how many Native American people see themselves as the “invisible” race because of their lack of representation in history, media, and well everywhere. I just found these articles on google that highlight the issue and really they aren’t the best articles. There have been many Native scholars who have studied this topic. If it is the right track you might try Vine Deloria or Eduardo Duran for more scholarly information on the topic.

YARNLADY's avatar

Mark Twain
Andy Warhol
Isaac Asimov
Noel Coward

LauratheRockStar's avatar

Let me try to clarify a bit – if anyone is actually interested -

I’m collecting background theory to write on Moldova and how Moldovans, as a people, are not represented in their own history books (titled “A History of Romania”). Thought it would give me a boost to have some critical post-colonialist authors (or something) who speak specifically on history education and the detriment inflicted on entire groups by not being represented therein.

Thanks for your suggestions thus far, though.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@LauratheRockStar I think it is a great topic to pursue. What I think you will find though, as is the case in most of these topics, is that there is actually no direct research on the topic. You have to use side research to get to your claim. You may find one or two examples that directly support you but otherwise you’ll have to go at it from the side and kinda build a support around it instead of under it. Or putting it simply the “invisible” races are invisible thus there is little research on them or on them not being represented.

bea2345's avatar

You have some interesting research ahead. It will be necessary to establish, accurately, the relationship between Moldova and Romania, e.g., is one a part of the other? it seems to be quite complicated. Then you must do a literature search; if your only language is English, you may have difficulty finding materials in that tongue, since for completeness, your research must include the writings of Moldovan nationalists, historians, etc. Can you keep us posted on how you go?

noelasun's avatar

I remember reading about this when I was looking into “National Imaginary”
It came up when I was looking into non-representation of immigrant communities as well as inter-racial citizens. What you’re looking into seems a little different, But I wonder if searching under national imaginary would help??

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