Gagging the past

Publisher:
Routledge
Publication Type:
Journal article
Citation:
Schlunke Katrina 2005, 'Gagging the past', Routledge, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 413-419.
Issue Date:
2005
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This piece is concerned wth the many ways in which the idea of gagging has been and could be connected to the idea of the past. There have been specific claims from Windschuttle and others that there has been a gagging of 'real' history founded in fact. But we might also see that reducing the past to 'proven' facts is to make a 'gag', a predigested narrative caricature that denies the past is something we must constantly make in the present. But could a 'gagging' of the past make us think about how writing the past is to engage with the possibility of a physical gagging that connects the past to a choking, a reflex connected to disgust and shame? This reflex via Darwin is connected to ideas of distance where we keep ourselves safe from the touch of the other, from the threat of the poison and perhaps the perpetuity of the past. If the past is embodied then how do we negotiate our relationship with it? And how should we write it? Can we eat it? This writing engages with the ambivalent affectivity of historical fact, narratives of the past and our relationship with a performed present that claims to be past. It is, in short, an intervention into the 'factual turn' that haunts a 'knowing' of the past.
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