Sullivan, S, Baussant, M, Dodd, L, Otele, O and Dos Santos, I (2017) Disrupted histories, recovered pasts: a cross-disciplinary analysis and cross-case synthesis of oral histories and history in post-conflict and postcolonial contexts. Bath Spa University, Bath. ISBN 9781911126065


This working paper outlines the conceptual framework and case studies comprising the research project Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts. Our project proposes a cross-disciplinary analysis and cross-case synthesis of experience and memory in post-conflict and postcolonial contexts. In the postconflict and colonial contexts of our cases, we see ‘disruption’ as present in three senses: as the productive ways in which multiple experiences retrieved through oral histories may refract and revise historical analysis; as the happening histories of objectively disruptive events break the flow of individual and collective experience; and as a strategy for cross-disciplinary research to disrupt and democratise conventional understanding by drawing attention to occluded experiences. We also articulate ‘recovery’ as polysemic: invoking retrieval of past experiences and the possibility for enhanced well-being through voicing memories that may have been suppressed, as well as attending to mismatches with public discourses about displaced groups and individual experience. Following an introduction to our conceptual approach, we summarise our proposed and on-going case-research. We are conducting oral history and archival research in multiple contexts, conducted from disciplinary bases in anthropology and history. Our aim is to interrogate relationships between oral histories and amateur histories with more formal written archives and historiography in a series of disrupted settings: evictions in colonial and apartheid west Namibia (Sullivan); memories and historical interpretations of the Egyptian Jewish diaspora (Baussant); the evacuation of children in Second World War France (Dodd); recent maritime exodus of migrants from Africa (Otele); and rupture from a hegemonic imperial-nostalgic narrative in Portugal (Dos Santos). Our case research will be complemented by systematic cross-case engagement, synthesis, theorisation and communication of case-study research, to be shared in the first instance through a future working paper.

Item Type: Commissioned Report

'Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts' Working Paper No.1. / Histoires Perturbées, Passés Retrouvés Série de Documents de Travail N° 1.

Full text available from URL below in either English or French.

Keywords: memory, oral history, history, disruption, recovery, trauma, conflict, postcolonial, subaltern, case studies
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
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Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2018 18:00
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2018 18:00
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