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Lyra Kitten
Professor Roberts
English 102-654 (11:00 a.m.)
Research Proposal
August 3, 2011

 the creation of Otherness/ orientalism
1. Why do history books never give fleshed-out portraits of non-white historical figures?
2. Why do history books leave out the bad deeds of our founding fathers or gloss over
3. What is the other side of colonization (point of view of those being colonized)?
4. Do history textbooks from other countries implement the same type of censorship?
 After reading part of Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, I am interested in
exploring the experience of the peoples silenced by American history textbooks. I want
to know more about the Arawaks and what they suffered under Christopher Columbus in
Haiti. I want to know more about what merits, other than being white, the historical
figures in our books and mythology possessed. My interest and outrage and the scope
of my topic are enough to sustain me throughout the semester.
 I know about Edward Said‟s Orientalism- creating of an „us vs. them‟ mentality, an
exoticness that makes the Other different from us and somehow less than human.
 I know that the Arawaks suffered terribly under Columbus. They suffered from
malnutrition, abuse, colonist-borne illnesses, etc. Primary sources reveal information
about suicides, killing of their children, and other feats they sought to get away from
Columbus‟s men. Columbus bragged to a friend about his men‟s taste is 9 and 10-year
old girls to rape. The Arawaks‟ numbers were cut in half in a short time by what they
suffered under Columbus and by their attempts to escape him.
 I know that Columbus is idolized in history textbooks used in the U.S.
 I know that other American “heroes” have similar pasts that are hidden by the textbook
industry and the mythology of our country- Woodrow Wilson was a racist and KKK
supporter, Thomas Jefferson had slaves, etc.
 I think I will find many atrocities in our country‟s past. I also think I will find that the
events of world history connect in a way I have not seen before. I will find out if other
people have an ethnocentric view of history, or if we are in the minority. I will find out
what those being colonized and “settled” thought about the experiences and learn from
their voices a more complete view of history.
1. Orientalism by Edward Said
2. Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict
3. Race and Manifest Destiny by Reginald Horsman