14 May 2005

Took that postmodern quiz...

revisionist historian
You are a Revisionist Historian. You are the Clark
Kent of postmodernists. You probably want to
work in a library or in social services. No
one suspects you of being a postmodernist...
until they read your publications!

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

I have been buried in the archives for the past two and a half months...two months in Colonial Williamsburg, and the past two weeks at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. I've been knee deep in sources for all that time, and here I was, thinking I was an old-fashioned empiricist. What do the documents say? And, I have always resisted the "Foucault footnote." All this is to say: I never thought of myself as a postmodernist at all! I might be a revisionist historian, since I am helping revive the idea that seventeenth-century Virginia was a place in which religion was important. It didn't function the same way it did in New England, but different doesn't mean unimportant! I'm also reading documents in creative ways to help further our understanding of how English Christianities (Anglicanism, Puritanism, Quakerism, Catholicism, all of which were practiced in Virginia) influenced early ideas about bodily difference. I suppose my interest in difference (read: race) is a sign of psotmodernist influence. But on the other hand, is to be revisionist automatically postmodern? Simply reinterpreting documents others have pored over for centuries can't make one postmodernist...
I'm reading way too much into that quiz, aren't I? Thanks to Ralph Luker at Cliopatria for the link.
Back to the vestry book of Albemarle Parish in Sussex County, Virginia. Great source for slave baptism. The Reverend William Willie, of Scotland, was minister there from 1739-1776, and kept very detailed records, God bless him. And it does not appear that he was baptizing all slave babies until the 1770s. Before that, it appears that he only baptized slave children on request of their masters. (I say appears, because I am still deciphering this thing.) What a way to spend a gloomy Saturday!


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