Essay written by 2007 DPDF Black Atlantic Studies Fellow Jessica Krug, featured in Remembering Africa and its Diasporas: Memory, Public History, and Representations of the Past, edited by Audra Diptee and David Vincent Trotman.
The essays in this collection are concerned with the construction of memories and public histories. They explore the processes and dynamics that shape the ways in which Africa and its Diasporas have been historicized outside of the academy. The chapters focus on the public presentation of the imagined past of Africa, and of the uses of that past both within Africa and in the numerous African Diasporas created by the historical and contemporary movement of Africans outside of Africa under a variety of circumstances. Collectively, these authors cover a broad geographic span and address issues in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada. By way of specific examples, they examine various forms of public history including museums, monuments, parades, and the performing arts. The contributors offer an analysis of the ways in which historical consciousness has been shaped and also discuss the motives behind and consequences of its shaping. In so doing, this collection serves as a reminder of the tension and complicated relationship that exists between historical production and historical consumption in the public arena.