I sort of wonder if it helps shore up the idea/myth of unidirectional progress (we are unequivocally better than our ancestors)
That’s what I think, personally.
Because if everything is always better than it’s ever been, why is anyone complaining or criticizing?
Related: why Native American History starts at “First Contact” and why “African American History” starts with enslavement.
Related: why does my textbook have literally one paragraph about pre-colonial non-Western history? Could it be because we wouldn’t want to think that people of color were better off and had accomplishments and histories BEFORE colonization and white people happened?
every time you reply to an extremely reductive question, i just imagine you sitting in your historian's lair, going "you want answers? i'll give you answers! i'll give you ALL THE ANSWERS, and they'll ALL CONFLICT! WELCOME TO HISTORY!"
Thank you for making me think about Things (and there's so many of them)
Are these sculptures of roman citizens or slaves?
The association of Black people with enslavement is an entirely modern invention, as in, chattel slavery in the Americas and the routine enslavement of black people in Europe did not exist in Rome. Roman slavery was NOT the same as chattel slavery, and it did not have anything to do with race as we know it today.
This is what I’m talking about when I say that our modern attitudes and colonial-era histories 100% affect the way we view ancient artworks.
American schools teach “slavery then civil rights”, and that’s their “Black History” curricula, for the most part. That’s why I get responses like this. Because it seems like a large number of Americans see any Black person from before 1950 and think “slave”.
This is far from the first time someone has asked this, and it probably is far from the last time I will be asked. It’s my hope that people will really think about how we got to this point, and why it’s so necessary to explore how this degree of anti-blackness has been codified into our education system.
This is one of the reasons that, at some point in class, I end up telling my students, “Okay, look, if someone tells you that X has always been the case regarding sexuality, gender, race, religion, science/technology, or any aspect of society you can think of, they are either lying to you or don’t know what they’re talking about. History is a lot more complicated than that.”
It might not be “telling” so much as “ranting,” but whatever.
AHHHH! Speaking of rants this reminds me of a book I was processing for undergrad anthropology that said, “no one knows why but at some point all women everywhere became subject to all men everywhere and here are the three theories to explain it number one because women have an baby and a men do a hunting” and so on and I was like AM I BEING PUNISHED BY THE UNIVERSE RIGHT NOW?
Literally NO amelioration in this book. 0%. And yes I know the theories and the names and all that crap but this was the #1 actual worst textbook description of this I had ever frigging seen. The entire section was called something really dire, too, like Women Subsumed by the Eternal Patriarchy or something like that, I don’t remember. And of course I look up which professor is using this text and I’m like
your blog is amazing and you seem to get a lot of hate/crappy asks for no reason just wanted to let you know you are appreciated :)
Thank you for taking this person and folks like them to church. I’m so tired of people pulling out the measuring tape on their CV peens every time they disagree with someone, as opposed to references as to why they disagree.
This “scholar-in-training” needs basic courtesy and respect shaken into them. You have a terrible advisor, askbox person.
Seeeeeriously. Like, I’ve taken measures to NOT have to put up with that crap in my career for a dang REASON. Because maybe this person is learning from academia a little TOO well. Half the time these kind of ‘disagreements’ between professors in a department (or even moreso BETWEEN departments) turn immediately into who went to which school (which boils down to who PAID more for their education!!!) rather than a discussion of sources and interpretations.
I mean, if this is the student:
Mayyybe it’s because THIS is the Art History department?
I kind of wish more people understood that the idea of “everyone agrees that THIS is THE interpretation” is like…almost never the case.
Also, regarding having stupid amounts of fabric in your clothing being a display of wealth, I'd been taught that that was part of why the slash-and-puff technique became such a fad among nobles. Not only did it make you a bigger, more imposing figure, but it also shouted, "I'm so rich I can just cut up this fabric without caring. Also underneath my fabric is MORE FABRIC! Suck it, peasants!"
Yes, and also this is too funny not to publish.
You literally cannot read this without picturing Henry VIII.
imthemorningandtheeveningstar replied to your post “I don’t quite understand the point of this blog. I’ve been aware that there were some people of color in Medieval Europe for as long as I can remember. Africa was just south of Europe, and of course European countries traded with Asia. I don’t think many would be to surprised at the content of this blog. It’s sort of just common knowledge.”
who comes to an information blog and says “people already know this, so go away”
Piles of trash, apparently.