The Center for Race and Gender Studies at UC Berkeley is holding a talk today from 4-5:30 that addresses this very question, featuring Professor and Director of The Rotary International Center for Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution, Scott Small.
We depend on history to educate us about the legacy of our environments, and of those who came before us to inhabit the lands we have, either forcefully or unwittingly, inherited. For the self-proclaimed bioregionalist, studying history is thus a key part of gaining the understanding needed to repopulate one’s environment in harmony with the ways of those who came before.
But what happens when a major source of historical knowledge paints the wrong picture? In a talk scheduled today from 4:00-5:30 at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender Studies, Stephen Small, associate professor at Cal, will address what he calls the “symbolic annihilation of Black women in Southern heritage tourism.”
Professor Small’s talk, titled “Embodiments of Memory: African American Remains and Representations,” will focus on how 21st century antebellum slave huts, the center of the home and female life, are being incorporated into such tourist sites, and how they represent one way in which these sites are now struggling to reverse the gendered and racialized conventions previously omitting key aspects of slave history—in particular about the women.
From the perspective of bioregionalism, the history of the African slaves brought to America is particularly interesting. Forcefully transplanted from their own home watersheds, these slaves were made to adapt to new environments of which now, Professor Small argues, they are being robbed yet again through the process of our collective forgetting of their history.
It is particularly interesting to consider how the women in these slave societies carved out roles for themselves within their own subcultures, sheltered from the male-dominated societies of their owners. What was home life like for these female slaves? Professor Small’s talk promises to shed some light on this little-explored corner of American history. The event will take place in 691 Barrows Hall on campus.