Who gets to do what kind of work? We, as public historians, must engage the ethics of occupying/interpreting spaces to which we do not belong. Some practitioners may pave the way for disenfranchised populations to take the lead in the interpretation of their own histories in a “top-down” approach. The disenfranchised may themselves originate grassroots initiatives in order to disrupt institutional power in a “bottom-up” approach. We must self-assess our own positionalities in variable contexts – when to learn through witnessing, when to educate through action.
Objectivity is a myth; accounts of the past and present are best communicated by the marginalized. Our relative positions in society are defined by intersecting, ascribed characteristics such as race, gender, and class; these positions comprise the breadth of our perspectives. As such, in claiming “epistemic privilege,” Others interpret their own experiences as a means of subverting the dominant historical narrative.
"bell hooks, 1999 interview, The Washington Post” (2017)." saved by the bell hooks. Accessed June 1, 2017. https://savedbythe-bellhooks.tumblr.com/post/ 157551882853/source-bell-hooks-in-an-interview-with-the.