Modes of dissemination

  • B. W. Higman


The histories and historiographies traversed in the chapters of this volume are overwhelmingly constructed of written words, printed on paper — like this volume itself. Forms of representation of the past which do not fit this mould rarely receive equal time, but alternative modes of disseminating historical knowledge and interpretation often have a social impact at least as great as that made by the traditional technology of the history writer. Indeed, the growing professionalization and sophistication of the historical disciplines in the Caribbean, as elsewhere, is frequently identified as problematic, distancing the academic historian from a broader audience hungry for an understanding of the past but unsatisfied by the offerings of the professionals. In this way, the development of the modern historiography of the Caribbean, the technical achievements of the professionals, the erudition of their products, and the internally-directed nature of historiographical debate, are thought to have a negative rather than positive impact on the ability of the historian to communicate with a broad public. On the other hand, some Caribbean states have involved academic historians in more public forms of historical representation, often politically driven, and some Caribbean academic historians have been moved by their historical understanding to carry it actively to grass-roots audiences.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2003

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  • B. W. Higman

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