Oral history and performance, inflected by feminism and mediated through friendship, have reverberated through my work as a historian in ways both profound and evanescent. Even when I am writing in tones and about topics that seem far removed from either, I find myself preoccupied with what I take to be some of this book’s central themes: the challenge of speaking for others; the dialectic of identity and difference; the danger of dualisms that create fictitious unities and secure power relations; the conviction that meaning emerges from dialogue, that identity itself is performative—cocreated, coproduced in relationship to others; the ethical imperative to “pass it on,” to make the stories entrusted to you a part of public memory; the desire for a history that explodes into the present, for a way of writing/telling history that makes something happen, that registers in the body and has material, ethical, political, emotional effects.
KeywordsTate Lost Stake Univer Metaphor
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- 1.For some of those collaborations, see Jacquelyn Hall and Della Pollock, “History, Story, and Performance: The Making and Remaking of a Southern Cotton Mill World,” in Reconstructing American Literary and Historical Studies, ed. Günter H. Lenz, Hartmut Keil, and Sabine Bröck-Sallah (New York, 1990), pp. 324–344;Google Scholar
- and Pollock, “(Un)Becoming Voices: Representing Sexual Harassment in Performance,” in Conceptualizing Sexual Harassment as Discourse, ed. Shereen G. Bingham (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994), pp. 107–125.Google Scholar
- 2.Parts of this paragraph are drawn from Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “Mobilizing Memory: Broadening Our View of the Civil Rights Movement,” Chronicle of Higher Education, (July 27, 2001); B8. For subsequent thoughts on “the long civil rights movement,” see Hall, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Journal of American History (March 2005): 1233–1263. We benefited especially from the work of Pamela Grundy, who had conducted an oral history project on West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Southern Oral History Program and was teaching a similar course at Davidson College. For Grundy’s project, see Charlotte Observer (October 9, 1999): 19A. For the Charlotte interviews, see series K, Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection (Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). <http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/htm/04007.html> September 2004.Google Scholar
- 4.For “listening out loud,” see Della Pollock, “Memory, Remembering, and Histories of Change: A Performance Praxis,” in Handbook of Performance Studies, ed. Judith Hamera and Soyini Madison (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005).Google Scholar
- 5.Orlando Patterson, The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in Americas “racial” Crisis (Washington DC: Civitas/Counterpoint, 1997).Google Scholar
- 7.Charles Marsh, God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 8–9. Parts of this paragraph are drawn from Hall, “Mobilizing Memory,” p. B9.Google Scholar
- 13.For a vivid description of a similar experience, see Charles Marsh, The Last Days: A Son’s Story of Sin and Segregation at the Dawn of the New South (New York: Basic Books, 2000), p. 248.Google Scholar
- 17.Fred Hobson, Tell About the South: The Southern Rage to Explain (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
- 25.Richard Schechner, “Acting as Incorporation,” The Drama Review 37.4 (1993): 64.Google Scholar
- 27.Allen Tate, “Ode to the Confederate Dead,” in Allen Tate, Selected Poems (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937).Google Scholar
- 28.James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (New York: Ballantine Books, 1941, 1960), p. 13. Parts of this paragraph are drawn from Hall, “Mobilizing Memory,” p. B9.Google Scholar