Choosing to remember

Kathryn Harrison writes in the New York Times a review of Laurel T. Ulrich’s Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History. Having not read the book – a three part historical essay about women’s reflection on history and its male biases – I was interested by a quote mid-way in the review. Ulrich writes that history “‘isn’t just what happens in the past,’ but what we choose to remember.”

Having collected and used oral histories, this passage speaks to me. It suggests that history may be a cognitive science of sorts. We want to find out how the record is made in the minds and in the library shelves.

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