The Historian as Curandera
Document Id: WP-40
In the process of writing, I chose to make myself visible as a historian with an agenda, but also as a subject of this history, and one of the traumatized seeking to recover herself. My own work became less about creating a reconstructed historical record and more about my own relationship to history, my questions and challenges, my mapping of ignorance and contradiction, my anger, sorrow and exhilaration. To testify, through my personal responses to them, to how the official and renegade stories of the past impact Puerto Rican women. To explore by sharing how I had done so in my own life, the ways that recaptured history could be used as a tool of recovery from a multitude of blows. In writing Remedios, I made myself the site of experimentation, and engaged in a process of decolonizing my own relationship to history as one model of what was possible. As I did so, I evolved a set of understandings or instructions to myself about how to do this kind of work, a kind of curandera's handbook of historical practice. The rest of this essay is that handbook.