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Telling HistoriesBlack Women Historians in the Ivory Tower$
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Deborah Gray White

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832011

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807889121_white

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The Politics of Memory and Place

The Politics of Memory and Place

Reflections of an African American Female Scholar

(p.101) The Politics of Memory and Place
Telling Histories

Sharon Harley

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the reasons that pushed Sharon Harley to write personal reflections of her life. According to Harley, writing a personal reflection of her life as an academic offers an extraordinary opportunity to be her own subject—to share her own history of being an African American woman historian and university professor specializing in African American women's history. Since writing a personal memoir or autobiographical text is a chance for a scholar to reflexively confront the continual task of the historian—to consciously and subconsciously choose the elements to include and exclude—it reveals significant aspects of Harley's mission in life to both her readers and herself. Historians are also especially cognizant that such details will likely be scrutinized and interpreted by generations of historians and other scholars. For these reasons, Harley is drawn to this task because, in telling her own story, she can try to reduce the strong possibility that she will be misinterpreted or, worse, maligned by scholars and others.

Keywords:   Sharon Harley, personal reflections, African American, woman historian, personal memoir, autobiographical text

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