Writing history is a radical act. I’m going to say it again. Writing history is a radical act. The process by which historians choose to deify, demonize, or emulate individuals and events is a malleable and contentious undertaking. As I’m sure you savvy readers out there know—with this retelling comes power. Sure, narratives can be retold, historical ‘facts’ reformulated, and legacies reclaimed. But whose voices get heard? Which versions get told? Who gets remembered and why? (For far too long ‘our’ Nation’s history consisted overwhelmingly of the male, pale, and stale variety.)
These questions went largely unexplored outside of the academy until 1980 with the publishing of A People’s History of the United States. With this retelling, Howard Zinn’s populist account of history seized the imagination of a generation, myself included. Prior to reading Zinn, in high school history class, I always noticed the same faces covering page after page (dead white men, dead white men, dead white men!). Yet, I never paused to consider that these ‘facts’ represented choices made by my textbook’s author.
Then I read Zinn.
Continue reading "Adventures in Feministory: Howard Zinn, American Historian and Activist" by Kat Kimberley here.