Leslie Lindenauer: Your grandfather tells stories differently than your mother

Historians in the News
tags: womens history, Leslie Lindenauer

Popular culture has its own way of telling stories, as do scholars and historians, Leslie Lindenauer, professor of history and women’s studies at Western Connecticut University in Danbury, recently told an audience at the Mark Twain Library.

“It’s a matter of perspective in the moment but it also shifts as time passes,” Lindenauer said.

New events, Lindenauer said, change one’s feelings about the past and how one chooses to tell it.

“In the same way your grandfather tells a story differently than your mother — it’s about where they’ve been and how they think and feel about that same event. and how their current history relates to that event,” she said.

In demonstrating her point, Lindenauer referred to a recent auto commercial that displayed a Revolutionary battle – men in tights on horses against the redcoats in a “muscle car,” charging toward the troops. She said this scene demonstrates how muscular patriotism is very important to current culture.

She also spoke about women, and how they were only acknowledged for their role in the Revolutionary War until many years after it took place.

“One of the manifestations of honoring and celebrating the Revolutionary War occurred during the centennial of the American Revolution in 1876. The money spent to print posters, fliers, catalogues and, yes, to make quilts, added up to millions of dollars,” she said. “[Yet,] in the images associated with the campaign, nary a woman is in sight — only years later as more facts came to light was it discovered that most of the money for the campaign was raised by women.”

Paintings created during the Great Depression show people in poverty. However, Lindenauer said with enough distance and time, artwork begins to represent women and show that they too had a stake in history — not as long-suffering weak creatures, but as strong human beings. ...

Read entire article at The Redding Pilot

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