I know the field is changing, but I still can’t help but think of academic historians as men concerned with deciphering old land deeds to see what the agriculture laws were of the time. History often tends to be based on written and material culture, which usually tells only part of the story. I’m personally more interested in cultural history, which is less a science and more of a speculation and correlation.
Enter You Must Remember This, less of a podcast and more of a historical immersion, is doing a series on the Disney film Song of the South. As much as Disney loves to trot out their old movies and squeeze every last opportunity to commercialize it, this one is staying way in the vault. And for good reason. From the stealing of slave stories by a white author for his books, to the messages that freed slaves long for the time they were enslaved, and black people existing for the benefit of white children’s learning…it’s even more of a nightmare than you remember.
Releasing it and celebrating it is hurtful and irresponsible. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t interrogate it; in fact we SHOULD. This is how cultural history works. Interrogate every angle: what is the film saying? What was the circumstances surrounding production? Why was it made? What is the lasting impact?
It’s a good listen and everything I love about studying culture.