All posts by sian

Public Keynote Lecture by Marie-Claire Lavabre on The Politics of Memory

Please join us for a Public Keynote Lecture on
The Politics of Memory, by Marie-Claire Lavabre, Director of Research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris.

When: 5-7pm, Friday 26th January 2018
Where: Commons CM.107, Newton Park Campus, Bath Spa University, BA2 9BN, UK.

Marie-Claire Lavabre is a well-known Professor of Sociology specialising in public memory and the politics of the past, who has authored books concerning political uses of the past in contemporary France (2017), Europe and its representations of the past (2008), the sociology of Communist memory (2004) and the social movement politics of 1968 (1998).

 

 

Professor Lavabre will be joined by Dr Alison Hems, Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Public History at Bath Spa University, who will act as discussant for Professor Lavabre’s talk. We will close with an open Q&A, followed by wine and nibbles.

This public keynote lecture is organised as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Care for the Future) and LABEX-PasP project Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts / Histories Perturbées, Passés Retrouvés, coordinated at Bath Spa University by Sian Sullivan, Professor of Environment and Culture.

Please register attendance at the lecture here.

‘Our hearts were happy here’ – recollecting acts of dwelling and acts of clearance through oral histories in west Namibia

Desert-adapted Black rhino, Diceros bicornis (photo: Sian Sullivan, 251115)

By Sian Sullivan

It was when doing field research for my PhD in the mid-1990s that I first learned of local histories embedded in the broader landscape around the settlement of Sesfontein / !Nani|aus, north-west Namibia. This is an area known today for its spectacular landscapes and desert-adapted black rhino and elephant. It is a sought after tourism destination now catered for by luxury eco-lodges linked to locally-run conservancies. But I have come to learn that the landscapes described as ‘wilderness’ in tourism brochures advertising the area are also full of the traces of former dwelling places and the graves of known ancestors. And that people alive today were amongst those who lived at these places and who remember what they were like in times past.

Map showing the boundaries of current tourism concessions with surrounding communal area conservancies and state protected areas in southern Kunene Region, west Namibia (created by Jeff Muntifering, 050316).

I started recording oral histories in the area in 1999. I borrowed an old cassette recorder from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London where I was then working, and recorded some 885 minutes of oral history interviews with Damara / ≠Nūkhoen[1] individuals known to me through my PhD research. These individuals lived throughout the former Namibian ‘homeland’ of ‘Damaraland’: in Sesfontein / !Nani|aus; on redistributed former Afrikaans settler farms near the Aba-||Huab river; and in settlements along the !U≠gāb river. Continue reading ‘Our hearts were happy here’ – recollecting acts of dwelling and acts of clearance through oral histories in west Namibia