Caring for Stories: Remedying Historical Revisionism
by Chiamaka Obilo, a senior in Kirkland House, studying Human Developmental & Regenerative Biology with a secondary in Anthropology and a language citation in Arabic.
Keywords: historical revisionism, Black womxn, journaling, COVID-19 pandemic, narratives
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many people in different ways. As a Black woman in America, I personally observed the effects of the pandemic on my own community. I observed that the pandemic exacerbated and exposed almost every evil and imbalance present within society and people’s lives. Within the context of the pandemic, I consider my community to be immigrants, Black people/the African diaspora, social justice minded people, womxn, and daughters. Each part of my community is affected by this pandemic, but the perspectives of each part of my community are rarely considered in renditions of history or media.
I observed the ravaging effects of the pandemic on the Black community. Within my own family, I saw relatives hospitalized, put on ventilators, and even die. I saw community members turned away for COVID-19 tests, and told to assume they were sick and just quarantine. Beyond this, cries for the sanctity of Black lives resounded louder in the echo chamber of pandemic news. In those moments, it felt like such a severe weight was on the Black community, specifically Black womxn. The world witnessed Black womxn take to the front lines, defending the value of life, Black life, all while counseling and upholding the unity of the Black community. Black womxn were expected to exude strength all while realizing that their own community members (namely Black male figures), were repeatedly betraying them through acts of sexual violence, character degredation, and outright shaming.
Black womxn actively give solace to the tribulations of others, but who listens to the stories of Black womxn? My section of the syllabus highlights my work with the Pandemic Journaling Project, which seeks to remedy the imbalance of care experienced by Black womxn, by targeting, listening to, and documenting the experiences of Black womxn living during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to uplift the stories of diverse communities, using informative infographics and collaboration with grassroots organizations that address the needs of Black womxn, among other diverse groups.
The sources included in this syllabus serve to educate, orient, and ground readers about, to, and in anti-historical revisionist practices. I am seeking to first educate readers about historical revisionism as a mechanism to silence the oppressed. Next, readers are steered into an understanding of the plight of Black womxn during the COVID-19 pandemic, and initiatives such as the Pandemic Journaling Project that sprouted to address this adversity. In order to provide reassurance of the importance of this work, I have featured scholarly articles that discuss historical revisionism along with the importance of acknowledging narratives during times of social upheaval. Finally, I end the syllabus with two sources that exemplify the necessity of addressing historical revisionism, as well as the realities that might arise when such revisionism is not prevented.
Topic: Increasing Participant Diversity for Pandemic Journaling Project Submissions
Corona Zhang, A. (2020, October 08). How to Decolonize Future Histories of COVID-19, Starting Now. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.thethinkingrepublic.com/being-counted/how-to-decolonize-future-histories-of-covid-19-starting-now
Atlantic Monthly Group. (2020). The COVID Racial Data Tracker. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://covidtracking.com/race
Krasner, B. (2019). Historical Revisionism. New York, NY: Greenhaven Publishing LLC.
Chew, Q., Wei, K., S, V., Chua, H., & Sim, K. (2020). Narrative synthesis of psychological and coping responses towards emerging infectious disease outbreaks in the general population: Practical considerations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore Medical Journal, 61(7), 350-356. doi:10.11622/smedj.2020046
Community Background + Interventions:
Brandi Jackson, A. (2020, September 04). Opinion | Facing both covid-19 and racism, Black women are carrying a particularly heavy burden. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/04/facing-both-covid-19-racism-black-women-are-carrying-particularly-heavy-burden/
Carrazana, C. (2020, August 13). Black women are getting hit by two pandemics: Coronavirus and racism. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://19thnews.org/2020/08/black-women-economy-coronavirus-systemic-racism/
Madani, D. (2020, September 27). America’s racial reckoning is putting a spotlight on Black mental health. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/america-s-racial-reckoning-putting-spotlight-black-mental-health-n1241127
Pandemic Journaling Project: How It Works. (2020, April 08). Home. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://pandemic-journaling-project.chip.uconn.edu/
Source: Chatelain, M., & Asoka, K. (2015). Women and Black Lives Matter. Dissent 62(3), 54-61. doi:10.1353/dss.2015.0059.
Lin, L., Zhao, Y., Ogawa, M., Hoge, J., & Kim, B. Y. (2009). Whose History? An Analysis of the Korean War in History Textbooks from the United States, South Korea, Japan, and China. The Social Studies, 100(5), 222-232. doi:10.1080/00377990903221905
Syme, K. L., & Hagen, E. H. (2019). Mental health is biological health: Why tackling “diseases of the mind” is an imperative for biological anthropology in the 21st century. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 171(S70), 87-117. doi:10.1002/ajpa.23965
Carpenter-Song, E., & Snell-Rood, C. (2017). The Changing Context of Rural America: A Call to Examine the Impact of Social Change on Mental Health and Mental Health Care. Psychiatric Services, 68(5), 503-506. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201600024
Poteat, T., Millett, G. A., Nelson, L. E., & Beyrer, C. (2020). Understanding COVID-19 risks and vulnerabilities among black communities in America: the lethal force of syndemics. Annals of epidemiology, 47, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.05.004
Kehoe, A., Asch, M., Bernier, B., Carter, G., Chandler, J., Dumond, D., . . . Stern, T. (1981). Revisionist Anthropology: Aboriginal North America [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 22(5), 503-517. Retrieved October 27, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2742286
Relevant News, Art, Fiction, Films:
Newell, J., Says, R., Rowe, R., Says, J., Jason, Says, C., & Pace, C. (2015, July 10). Historical Revisionism: Conservative Civil War Delusions. Retrieved October 27, 2020, from https://www.stupidpartyland.com/1/post/2015/07/historical-revisionism-republican-civil-war-delusions.html
Featured Entries. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://www.pandemicjournalingproject.org/archive/featured