The Global South as Intellectual Playground

The Politics of Memory

In the early 1950s, the United States was in the midst of heated debate about the Jim Crow laws that legalized racial segregation in the South. No doubt inspired by the ongoing national debate, the historian C. Vann Woodward began researching the history of segregation. As he saw it, the contemporary debate on segregation was grounded in “faulty or inadequate historical information” and sociological theories “based upon erroneous history.” As an American citizen, he felt compelled to use his expertise as a historian to bring insights to the events that were unfolding around him; he wanted to inform debates that were taking place about very real issues that affected the daily lives of his fellow citizens; he hoped to disrupt the mythologized narratives that had become part of the popular discourse. In other words, his historical questions were shaped by national events that were part of his lived reality.

Unfortunately…

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