Girls-Eye-View: Daughters of the Revolutions
Introduction + Resources

Why should artists address history?

You've probably heard this before:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
-George Santayana

But what about this?

History is the present. That's why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.
-E.L. Doctorow
The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence...And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his own contemporaneity. No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone.
-T.S. Eliot
Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs.
-David Ben Gurion

Why address the political through the personal, or the public through the private?

All history becomes subjective; in other words there is properly no history, only biography.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
In juxtaposing experiences with each other, in letting them play off each other, it is my interpretative political aim (in the broadest sense) to make concurrent those views and experiences that are ideologically and culturally closed to each other and that attempt to distance or suppress other views and experiences.
-Edward Said
Our thousand stories replace their history.
-Patrick Chamoiseau

Why make a group project?

Education is basically something the subject does, the student, not the teacher. It is learning, and learning is an active process, involving the creation of maps of the world, of becoming able to do something, and of imagining alternatives... We can conceive education only as cooperation.
-Christoph Spehr

Why is this class called Daughters of the Revolutions?

Our founding fathers were revolutionaries:

Obedience to tyrants is rebellion to God. -Thomas Jefferson

In the heady days of their youthful rebellion, they conceived a nation that would constantly reinvent itself:

The Earth belongs in usufruct to the living, that the dead have neither right nor power over it. One generation of men does not have the right to bind another. It may be so proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1789
(Read the debate about the intent behind this letter in an excerpt from Sheri Holman's novel The Mammoth Cheese.)

Even though the founding fathers may have settled down to structured law-making later in life, the United States has welcomed more immigrants than any other country - more than 50 million in all - and still admits between 500,000 and 1 million immigrants in search of the personal revolutions of self-reinvention each year.

That we are "a society of immigrants" is, as President John F. Kennedy put it, "the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions who dare to explore new frontiers."

The World Wide Web was first released to the public in 1992 and the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, was launched in 1993. In the 13 years since, the Internet as communication medium, information source and (increasingly) tool for personal expression has become a commonplace of daily life for millions of users. In the last five years in particular, the rapidly lowering price point of the technologies and commercial networks that allow access to the Internet, the development of new social software (blogs, wiki, etc.) that democratize the development of Internet content, and the viral spread of ideas facilitated by web-based culture, have made it possible for the WWW generation to make significant interventions into the fabric of their times through the small revolutions of the net.

How are public and private histories visualized online?

US History Graphic Timelines

US History Primary Source Timelines

Collection of Links to Other Kinds of Timelines:

Family Tree Diagrams

Genealogy Resources + Records

Artist Projects that Map and Remap History

Artist Projects that Mine and Subvert Family Archives and Genealogical Records

Stories in the Landscape

My Work

Our Tools