Here Lies Darby Vassall: Rendering the obscured and concealed history of slavery at Christ Church Cambridge
Piepenbrink, Nicole Catherine
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPiepenbrink, Nicole Catherine. 2022. Here Lies Darby Vassall: Rendering the obscured and concealed history of slavery at Christ Church Cambridge. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractThe material conditions of “historic” preservation and institutional presentation communicate a particular version of the past through, what the late historian and professor of geography, David Lowenthal, terms selective forgetting and selective recall. Common myths of white benevolence and exceptionalism (in the North) contribute to the perceived “invisibility” of slavery in New England and across the nation at sites similar to “historic” Christ Church Cambridge in Harvard Square. By reading against boundaries, materiality, and identity projections, this project situates the church within broader, interconnected landscapes of dispossession and extraction, making connections to places and people beyond the fiction of “historic” boundaries – in W. E. B. DuBois’ words – to the “foundation stone” (Black labor) of “Northern manufacture and commerce.” The goal of this project is to construct what bell hooks calls a “subversive historiography,” an alternative spatial narrative of place that allows us to revise and expand the storytelling of Christ Church Cambridge in its context. My work aims to render visible this (currently invisible) history through research and exploratory mediums of knowledge sharing and representation. A temporary art installation provides a platform for bringing the hidden past into view.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37372350