By Lindsey Dodd / email@example.com / @DrLindseyD
One of the core research activities of the Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts project is the ‘open-ended process of co-production, cross-case learning and synthesis’ envisaged by our initial proposal and outlined in further detail in our first Working Paper. In June 2017, the project team met in Paris to think through this ‘systematic cross-case engagement’, sharing the commonalities and differences across our case studies, and moving towards our goal of identifying the ‘themes, patterns and theoretical modifications’ that might arise through laying alongside each other case studies examining similarly disrupted historical experiences.
Prior to our meeting, we each performed two tasks. The first we called ‘Sharing what we know’. In order to get a stronger sense of how each of the five project team members approaches her work, we decided to share with each other 1) something we had written which relates to the current project (published or unpublished), and 2) something from inside our own disciplinary world which inspired us and which we thought would interest the others. The writing of our own which we shared was the following:
• Baussant, M., ‘Broken lives, silenced memories: reappropriations of the past among the Jews of Egypt and Islamic Countries [unpublished]
• Dodd, L. ‘Turning historian to tell your traumatic past; or, how oral history speaks both from below and from the inside out’ (seminar paper given at the University of Huddersfield, April 2017; will appear soon as Working Papers in the Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts series).
• Otele, O., ‘Mourning in reluctant sites of memory: from Afrophobia to cultural productivity’, NIOD Lecture Series, September 2016, Institute for War, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, Netherlands
• Dos Santos, I., ‘Migrer du Portugal en Angola: perception de la migration et rapport au passé colonial. Quelques pistes de reflexion’, Cahiers de l’URMIS (2017)
• Sullivan, S., ‘What’s ontology got to do with it? On nature and knowledge in a political ecology of the “green economy”’, Journal of Political Ecology, 24.1 (2017)
The items by others which we shared were:
• Bhambra, G. K., ‘What shadows? Representing Enoch Powell’, http://gkbhambra.net/ (28 October, 2016)
• Basso, K. H., Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache (University of New Mexico Press, 1996), Chapter 1, ‘Quoting the Ancestors’.
• Fassin, D, ‘Une vérité sans réconciliation. Mémoire et histoire du Sida dans le post-apartheid’, Sociétés & Répresentations, 2.22 (2006)
• Machaqueiro, M. A., ‘Spaces of memory: the construction of colonial and post-colonial spaces in the memories of former Portuguese colonizers’, CRIA-FCSH Working Paper 10 (2011)
• Roper, M., ‘The unconscious work of history’, Cultural and Social History, 11.2 (2014)
We called the second task ‘Finding points of articulation’. Here, we considered three focused questions, the answers we hoped would lead us towards finding the points at which various of our case studies shared hinges, flexing in different directions but articulating across the same joint. The questions were:
1. How might we describe our research method(s), e.g. our methods of collecting recorded interview material, or of listening to (already recorded) material?
2. In what ways might we ‘classify’ the type(s) of oral history information we are working with and/or generating in our research? (For example – childhood memories, intergenerational, on-site/in-place, etc.) – i.e. one point of articulation might be to be quite precise about
a ‘typology‘ or ‘taxonomy‘ of interview/recorded materials we are working with.
3. In what ways do our oral history materials disrupt, reflect, revise, refract or recover established historical ‘truths’ regarding the contexts of our case research?