Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts: A Cross-Disciplinary Analysis and Cross-Case Synthesis of Oral Histories and History in Post-Conflict and Postco

Lead Research Organisation: Bath Spa University
Department Name: College of Liberal Arts

Abstract

Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts proposes a cross-disciplinary analysis and cross-case synthesis of experience and memory in post-conflict and postcolonial contexts. Case-research, conducted from disciplinary bases in anthropology and history, will 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; memories and historical interpretations of the Egyptian Jewish diaspora; war-time evacuation in Vichy, France; recent maritime exodus of migrants from Africa; and Portuguese migrant subjectivities in post-colonial Angola). This will be complemented by systematic cross-case engagement, synthesis, theorisation and communication of case-study research, conducted through regular meetings of our core research team, a larger research workshop, and presentation to the broader AHRC-LABEX Pasp network.

In the postconflict and colonial contexts of our cases, 'disruption' is 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. 'Recovery' is also polysemic, invoking retrieval of past experiences, and the possibility for enhanced well-being, through voicing memories that may have been suppressed and attending to mismatches between public discourse about displaced groups and individual experience.

We will publish our findings in a bespoke collection (the Palgrave Studies in Oral History is a possible outlet) and in peer reviewed journals such as Oral History, and make our research available in English and French to wider publics at http://disruptedhistories.net.
 
Description The starting point for the joint AHRC Care for the Future and French LABEX Past in the Present project 'Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts' is the methodological complexity infusing whose and what types of experience and knowledge are considered to be of value in formulating historical analysis and narrative. We understand debates and struggles over sources of information and memory to be at the heart of the presences of pasts as these are shaped into unfolding futures.

These concerns flow from a Foucauldian appreciation that whose pasts are able to contribute to the future and how is always saturated with power relations. In particular, and as argued by historians such as Michel de Certeau and Paul Ricoeur, 'memory' and 'history' can find themselves dissociated because of doubt surrounding the validity of oral testimonies. The past that becomes written as 'History', as well as the memories which become fashioned into more-or-less formalised national strategies of 'remembrance', thus are always caught within contingent discursive webs and institutional(ised) structures.

Simultaneously, however, this contingency of voice, as well as of the objects and subjects of knowledge conferred by particular 'regimes of truth', forms the ground of possibility for disruptive interventions that recover and recognise other(ed) voices, views, wills and presences. The past revealed, concealed and constructed through historiography is thereby encountered as explicitly heterogeneous, opening the way conceptually and methodologically for the telling of different and multiple stories - for 'the decomposition and recomposition of national [and public] myths' - through varied methods, registers and media.

This possibility of historical heterogeneity is perhaps particularly present in post-conflict and postcolonial contexts. In such settings, experience of objectively traumatic events, combined with strongly hierarchical structures that reinforce difference and politicise what it is possible to remember, make the retrieval and recognition of occluded experiences particularly potent. In a range of prior studies we have thus emphasised the patterning that can arise in such settings, as well as the methodological sensitivity required in both drawing to the fore experiences that may have been silenced, and in hearing silences themselves as perhaps articulations of the unspeakable. Such emphases are increasingly the focus of cross-disciplinary analyses in post-conflict and postcolonial contexts, including in geography, anthropology and sociology, as well as history.

For us, then, disruption in 'Disrupted Histories' can be understood in three senses:
- first, as the productive ways that multiple voices and experiences, retrieved through recording and analysis of oral and amateur histories, may refract and revise historical narratives based on written archives that become historical convention in the present;
- second, as the happening histories of objectively disruptive events in conflict and colonial settings, which interrupt the flow of individual and collective experience to produce 'strong breaks or intense political and social mutations';
- and third, as a strategy for cross-disciplinary research to disrupt conventional understanding by drawing attention to occluded and 'subjugated knowledges' as a nontrivial gesture towards the democratisation of knowledge production.

Children's histories (as explored in our case-studies), in particular, are latently disruptive because of the unique ways in which children experience events, their passivity in the face of political decision-making, and their lack of responsibility for past crimes. Nonetheless, their voices have been overlooked, or relegated to the status of anecdote or nostalgia. We instead follow work in childhood studies that recognises children's knowledge as different, not inferior, to adults', and affirms that recalled experiences, expressed retrospectively, can be mobilised so as to understand traumatic pasts only parts of which are publicly recognised.

'Recovery', in the sense of Recovered Pasts, thus is for us also polysemic. It refers to the retrieval of past experiences that may be masked by public discourse and historiography based on written archives alone, as well as to the possibility for enhanced well-being through voicing memories that may previously have been unheard.

In 'Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts' we are engaging with these possibilities for disruption and recovery through combining cross-disciplinary inflection (history and anthropology/ethnography) with the recording and analysis of oral and amateur histories, as well as analysis of written archives, in a range of post-conflict and postcolonial settings. These are contexts in which hierarchical linkages between power, knowledge production and axes of difference are particularly strong. Their selection has emerged through interaction between scholars in the AHRC Care for the Future-LABEX PasP network and associated colleagues. Through this interaction it has become apparent that there may be commonalities of concern and experience in conducting oral history research in these settings, as a means for regaining ownership of diverse pasts.

We are conducting and combining new research, enhanced by being embedded in sustained research trajectories, to pursue a range of empirical and methodological objectives, guided by the following questions:
- how might oral histories, testimonies and narratives speak to, with and as 'History' in selected contexts of objectively disruptive historical events including war, migration, colonisation, and eviction?
- how do oral histories, as well as amateur histories recorded through blogs and websites, refract and revise more formal history and historiography in these contexts?
- are there themes, patterns and theoretical modifications that might arise through sustained conversation, engagement and synthesis of experiences inscribed through multiple cases across similarly disrupted historical experiences? Might these permit the roles and values of oral and amateur history research to speak with more methodological strength to processes of knowledge production in historical research based on written archives?

Following Gayatry Spivak, then, we aim through oral and amateur history research to facilitate 'subject-restoration' and the recognition of heterogeneity in contexts of 'subject-deprivation', i.e. where disruptive experiences have acted to 'drain' individuals, groups and experiences 'of proper identity'. Our proposal is particularly relevant to three priority areas in the original AHRC-LABEX PasP Joint Funding Call, namely: 1. 'How societies remember and try to come to terms with the legacies of difficult and divisive pasts'; 2. 'Representations and uses of the past in the present'; and 3. 'Mediations of the past; cultural and social appropriations of the past' - including digital practices.
Our research programme combines two key activities, namely 1. a series of comparative case-studies, and 2. cross-case synthesis. We have established a project website at https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/ that includes information on seminars and events plus a research blog at https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/research-blog with eight blogs posted so far based on different aspects of our research. We are developing a Disrupted Histories Working Paper series and our first working paper, based on our conceptual framework and original Case for Support, is available to download from our website at https://f-origin.hypotheses.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/3369/files/2018/01/DisruptedHistories-wp1-Dec2017-Sullivan-Baussant-Dodd-Otele-DosSantos.pdf.

Case studies
The core primary research on which our project will be based is a series of five individually-led new empirical case-studies based on primary research that systematically interrogates relationships between oral histories and amateur histories with more formal written historical archives and historiography in each case. Our selected case studies are connected by the themes of:
1. attending to the disruptions that may be proposed by connecting oral and amateur histories with formal written historical reference;
and 2. their setting in contexts that are themselves structured by specific disruptive events caused by conflict and/or colonialism.
Whilst adhering to these themes, each case-study embodies particular methodological inflections and intentions, as detailed below.

1. Oral histories, sound recordings, and historical record regarding land clearances and culturenature relationships in postcolonial and post-apartheid west Namibia
- led by Sian Sullivan, Principal Investigator (UK) and Project Coordinator, Bath Spa University (BSU)
This case-study complements and extends research conducted under the AHRC Care for the Future research project Future Pasts (ref. AH/K005871/2, www.futurepasts.net). It seeks to explicitly connect and juxtapose oral histories and testimonies recorded as part of Future Pasts in Khoekhoegowab amongst Damara / #Nukhoen people in west Namibia, with a range of written and recorded archival sources housed at the Namibia Resource Centre of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB) in Basle, Switzerland. The case study consolidates analysis of oral histories of childhood memories of displacement from former dwelling sites, recorded during return with adults to sites that were previously home for these individuals. The case research is connecting these memories with written archival documents and new historiography (especially relevant are: Miescher, G. 2012 Namibia's Red Line: The History of a Veterinary and Settlement Border. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; Rizzo, L. 2012 Gender and Colonialism: A History of North-western Namibia. Basle: BAB) that map and document land use and indigenous presence in west Namibia. The following avenues are being pursued in particular:

i. close review of General Kaokoveld Report by Major Manning November 1917 (National Archives of Namibia (NAN) ADM 156 W 32) and Manning's the follow-on report of 1919 in connection with oral histories for part of the area that Manning covered. This research suggests direct connections between families encountered by Manning and their elderly descendants in the area today, known through recorded interviews through prior research in the area. Two individuals (cousins Franz ||Hoëb and Noag Ganaseb) have now travelled with Sullivan to locations marked on the map sketched by Manning as inhabited by people speaking Khoekhoegowab. Due to habitation restrictions established as the area was opened for diamond mining in the 1950s and then gazetted as part of the Skeleton Coast National Park (in 1971) people were removed from these areas and they ceased to accessible for habitation. On-site oral history recorded with Franz and Noag through a 150km journey from the settlement of Sesfontein to the coast at Möwe Bay has generated a rich source of information regarding how people lived and moved in this area in the past that also finds corroboration in Manning's report from 100 years ago. This research, which combines historical archival research with on-site oral history in remote localities in north-west Namibia, is now being written up (see research blog 'Our hearts were happy here' - recollecting acts of dwelling and acts of clearance through oral histories in west Namibia - https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/227, which is forming the basis for a fuller working paper);

ii. through 'Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts' archival research at the Namibia Resource Centre of BAB is also being conducted focusing specifically on written transcripts and sound recordings made in the 1950s by the German Africanist scholar and theologian Prof. Ernst Dammann (1904-2003) and his wife Ruth Damman (née Scholtisek, 1911-1995) (Inventory PA.39, Carton F (Khoekhoegowab), Folders 1-9, and Cassettes 32-41). Initial exploration indicates that these written and recorded sources include comment on shifting historical claims to land, as well as expressing a series of folkloric representations of culturenature relationships that are remembered in and relevant to present contexts of displacement. Further archival research conducted with Namibian collaborator Welhemina Suro Ganuses at BAB in November 2017 is permitting enquiry into past audio recordings and the contexts of their documentation, in part through recovering contemporary responses to these colonial recordings in Namibian contexts. This research formed the basis for the presentation 'Sound and (hi)story in Damara / ?Nukhoen pasts, from Basel to west Namibia' (with Welhemina Suro Ganuses), at our project research workshop, Bath Spa University, 26-27 January (see below).

2. Recovering childhood memories in contexts of war-time trauma in France
- led by Lindsey Dodd, Co-Investigator (UK), University of Huddersfield
The post-conflict historiography of the Vichy era in France has been subject to bitter debate, with the historical establishment pitting itself against historical actors in search of an objective 'Truth'. While attention has shifted towards understandings of daily life, children's experiences, oral histories and histories of displacement remain undervalued, and traumatic civilian experiences have been subsumed by questions of guilt, blame and retribution. Barring work on the 1940 civilian exodus during the German invasion, scholarship has failed to recognise that the period 1940-1944 was, for many French children, one of multiple displacements. They became lone refugees and evacuees at a time of severe food shortages, violent civil unrest and heavy bombing. These histories of separation and loss have been excluded from formalised historical and national narratives of the Vichy era. Historians, on the whole, have ignored French (rather than Jewish) children's pasts. This is, therefore, an issue of subject restoration. Both a positivistic obsession with the 'Truth' about (in particular) resistance and collaboration, and an institutional legacy of structuralism which resists ordinary individuals' heterogeneity have made oral history appear suspect to historians working with written archives using traditional historical methodologies. Yet sound archives (national, departmental, municipal) and digital amateur histories (blogs, websites) proliferate, albeit underexploited. In this case study, two linked methodological approaches are contesting this double distortion of children's stories, and displacement stories:

i. Mapping and re-use: this approach engages with archival sound holdings and amateur histories of wartime childhoods. It seeks to catalogue and analyse existing sound archives relevant to children's wartime lives, illuminating narrator insights which disrupt, revise and refract dominant discourses on topics such as resistance and collaboration. Both the (re-)use of oral histories and crowd-sourced resources are matters of scholarly debate.

ii. Voices of wartime child displacement: 10-15 oral histories will be recorded to examine experiences of separation and displacement, building on previously recorded oral histories which include refugee and evacuee stories. Much wartime child displacement happened in 'the best interests of the child' - for physical protection or physical health. Little attention was paid to emotional wellbeing. By contrasting new oral narratives with archival material (e.g. Archives municipales de Boulogne-Billancourt (AMBB) 6H 17, 6H 18, 6H 19; Archives départementales de la Creuse (ADC) 288 W 42, 288 W 43), the consequences of loss and separation may be recovered through disruption of the 'best interests' discourse. Oral histories are being recorded with adults who as children were displaced from the industrial Paris suburbs to rural France, with the AMBB and the ADC as partner organisations. Existing research links with these two institutions stem from the Creuse being a reception department for thousands of evacuated children from Boulogne-Billancourt.

To meet the mapping and re-use objective, Dodd contacted 200 archives and museums across France to locate oral history holdings of wartime childhoods. She has completed two research trips (autumn 2016), visiting nine institutions from which she harvested a large quantity of already-recorded material dating from various moments after the war, which has rarely, if ever, been analysed. For more information see Disrupted Histories blog post at: https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/171. These institutions comprised: five municipal or departmental archives, one municipal library/heritage office (Ville de Laval; keen to continue working with Dodd and with beyond-academia impact potential), one museum (Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation, Lyon; again with impact potential) and 2 institutions outside 'official spheres': Rails et histoire (the association for the history of French railways (AHCIF, Paris) and Le Son des Choses (Champagne-Ardenne region).

To meet the 'voices of wartime displacement' objective, in July 2017 Dodd visited the Creuse for ten days to record oral histories of children's evacuation and of wartime childhoods. She also visited the Archives départementales de la Creuse again. In the Creuse, she recorded interviews with eight former child evacuees/refugees and five people who were children of host families. She has also recorded a further three interviews in Paris with former child evacuees/refugees and one with a former teacher who accompanied the evacuees in 1943.

Dodd has thus far built a corpus of 170 'amateur narratives' of wartime childhoods in Vichy France. Of these, 105 are oral narratives collected during her fieldwork, 70 of which have been transcribed. The remainder are unpublished written accounts.

Dodd's research envisages two interim and at least three final outputs. First, based on a research paper given at the University of Huddersfield April 2017 ('Turning historian to tell your traumatic past; or, how oral history speaks both from below and from the inside out'), Dodd has drafted two papers for the Disrupted Histories. Recovered Pasts Working Papers series, which will be ready in spring 2018: 1) 'Disrupting history': "amateur" histories and the challenge to dominant versions of the past'. In this paper Dodd analyses the motivations among individuals to 'turn historian', which she ascribes to their dissatisfaction with the dominant 'regimes of truth' current in French society around experiences during the Second World War; 2) 'Recovered pasts: traumatic pivot points in memory narratives of wartime childhoods in France'. In this paper Dodd examines the narrative composure in personal memory stories which serves psychological functions for the teller. These stories can be used to 'disrupt' hegemonic 'collective memory' tropes in historical scholarship. Remembering is not just an act of public restitution and commemoration, but a psychological process to 'work through psychic residues' of the past in the present. These interim outputs will feed into the first final output for the project: the collective cross-case synthesis. Second, Dodd is currently writing an article called 'Family separation and reconfiguration in wartime France: experience and legacy', based on the evacuation interviews, for which she will seek publication in a journal of European or French history. Third, the research conducted for this project has enabled Dodd to secure a Research Fellow position at the Collegium de Lyon for the academic year 2018-2019, during which time she will draw on her full corpus of 'amateur' histories to write a book provisionally titled Remembering Wartime Childhoods: France 1939-1945. Being in France will enable her to visit more easily the remaining archives which funding/teaching restrictions prohibited during the course of this project, and to develop further impact- and research-related connections to push the frontier of this research.

3. Telling one's story, redefining collective memory: the challenges of African refugees and migrants in 21st century Europe.
- led by Olivette Otele, Co-Investigator (UK), Bath Spa University
This case-study, conducted by French historian Olivette Otele, is looking at the ways in which oral history and recordings can become tools for understanding the notion and experience of exile in contemporary Europe. The study is articulated around two types of case research:
i. collecting and examining testimonies of refugees from Sub-Saharan Africa who left their homeland (frequently via North Africa and the Mediterranean) because of conflicts;
ii. delving into the stories of people coming from allegedly conflict free zones, who nonetheless were forced over the last decade to migrate for economic, religious and other reasons.
In order to understand how the notion of trauma can apply to both groups, the project analyses public perception of these communities in the host country, namely Britain and France, as well as exploring how the public discourse can and has shaped the ways in which these communities perceive themselves and tell their stories. Particular attention is paid to media representation, public debates about migrants, immigration, religious extremism, and the contrast with migrants' daily lives and priorities. These testimonies will be useful tools to interpret dominant discourses and histories of victimhood and threat that have been associated with migrant history. The processes and practices of telling the story are also being studied, to understand how notions such as cultural memory, identity and even post-memory in certain cases are articulated by individuals. The case research is based on the principle that incorporating oral history and amateur history alongside archival sources can contribute to the empowerment of communities, through recovering experiences and voices that have been disfranchised by displacement and trauma.

The aim of these first months of research has been to pursue three different paths in order to have a fuller picture of the trajectories of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from West and Central Africa to Britain.

1) The first path was to re-think the notions of disruption and continuity building on my expertise in bigger historical migration movements (forced and voluntary) from Africa to the Americas such as the transatlantic slave trade, colonial settlements and linking them with post-colonial migrations from Central and West Africa. My three public engagements were articulated around the idea of historical continuity and disruption of migratory flows from Africa to Europe in regards to people of African descent. I looked at the way these two contradictory points have contributed to defining notions such as "Afrophobia" and "Black Mediterranean". I moved from the history of migration in the "Longue duree" to contemporary migration and European politics and policies of border control. I am currently interrogating the ramifications of EU border control now expanding outside the European Union. The next step is to identify how these policies and politics affect re-settlement in Britain. Home Office reports and South Wales Racial Equality Council case studies could provide us with information about the impact of these measures on refugees, asylum seekers and even migrants.

2) The second path is to look at archives from organisations that worked with migrants and refugees and that facilitated integration and provided advice to newcomers. I chose the period of 1980s to the late 1990s because several conflicts in West and Central Africa have led to the displacement of population. I wanted to know how Britain, supported those who have been granted access to the country. I looked into Charter 87 (archives based at The University of East London), a group that do not exist anymore but that was in operation between 1987 and 1997. The group played a crucial role as an intermediary between refugees and the Home office. The material is vast but already one can see through their minutes and correspondence how it provided support and legal council to various groups and people. The next step will be to identify several case studies and see how Charter 87 chose to promote stories of resilience through their cuttings about specific individuals.

3) The third path is about individual stories. I wanted to look into the lives of those who settled in Britain and how bigger organisation presented their stories. I have chosen to look into The UNHCR Audio-Visual Archive (also based in UEL) and pulled out several stories that are about journeys in camps and in Europe. Those archives contain thousands of stories but the narratives are rarely complete. We have families from the Central African Republic and visuals of their lives but mostly in the refugee camp. We also have several audio-video archives about asylum seekers in Britain but it appears to be at times difficult to know the route they took especially when some came as refugees while others sought asylum seekers status once in the country. The very notion of disruption is illustrated in these testimonies. The next step is to look at testimonies that have been the most documented (video but also photos and newspaper cuttings (classified as "migrant stories" rather than refugees) and see if I can follow three or four specific cases.
The next step in using those valuable archives will be to bring together those three paths to try and see how issues related to trauma affects asylum seekers, economic migrants and refugees. The aim will be to understand the strategies put in place by institutions, local groups on the one hand, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants on the other, to move and seek recovery.

The above case studies carried out by UK members of our research team are complemented by the following two case studies by our French colleagues:

1. Memories and historical interpretations of the Jewish Oriental past in diasporic and Israëli contexts, - led by Michèle Baussant, Principal Investigator (France), (LESC), CNRS.
2. Recovering disrupted memories in a postcolonial context: Portuguese migrant subjectivities in Angola - led by Irène Dos Santos, Co-Investigator/Post-doc (France) Centre National de la Recheche Scientifique et Université Paris Diderot.

2. Cross-case synthesis
Our second core research activity is the facilitation of an open-ended process of co-production, cross-case learning, and synthesis through a series of four face-to-face meetings between the core research team to take place during the programme of research (at BSU, Nanterre/Paris and Huddersfield). To date we have had one project meeting in Paris in June 2016 and a meeting of the UK team in Dec 2016, a meeting of three of the UK and French team members in March 2017, a meeting of four of the team members in Paris in June 2017 and a meeting of the full team in Paris scheduled for March 2018. The emphases of these meetings is: systematic cross-case engagement through sharing and theorising content and experiences - focusing on our research aims as listed above; identifying commonalities and differences across our cases; cross-case support; and the creative generation of a range of outputs.

Our initial proposal also included a research workshop as a strategy for opening up a discussion on possibilities for cross-case synthesis with a wider group of presenters and participants. We held this research workshop at Bath Spa University in January 2018, hosting 21 participants from several, preceded by a public keynote lecture on The Politics of Memory by French sociologist Marie-Claire Lavabre. See https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/project-workshop-january-2018 and 'narrative impact' for more information.
Exploitation Route To early to say as yet, but we hope our research will contribute to greater sensitivity in the inclusion of diverse past experiences in practices of commemoration in the present. We are still working on delivering a working paper based on our cross-case synthesis and an edited collection based on our case-research, conceptual framework and cross-case synthesis.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/
 
Description Our project is supported by a public-facing website at https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/, established so as to facilitate knowledge transfer and public engagement. We have shared our research publicly through a range of activities, including invited talks, blog posts (we have published eight blogs on different aspects of our research at our project research blog at https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/research-blog), and via an online Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts Working Papers series (at https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/working-papers_documents-de-travail) for in progress research, with one paper published to date at https://f-origin.hypotheses.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/3369/files/2018/01/DisruptedHistories-wp1-Dec2017-Sullivan-Baussant-Dodd-Otele-DosSantos.pdf, and more in preparation. A key commitment of our project was to host a research workshop at Bath Spa University with academics at various career stages as well as beyond-academia participants. We achieved this in January 2018. The workshop was preceded by a public lecture on the Politics of Memory by sociologist Marie-Claire Lavabre, attended by around 50 people (see https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/364). This was followed by a day-long workshop of 9 focused presentations and a plenary discussion, attended by 21 participants. The event stimulated lively and intense discussion, with many participants animated by the correspondences between the different case research presentations, as well as the issues of memory and commemoration embedded in the case contexts that were shared. Feedback includes the following statements: 'Thank you so much for yesterday and congratulations on a really wonderful workshop. It was a very enriching experience and I feel very lucky to have participated, - so many excellent speakers and really interesting studies.. I am still reflecting over the many ideas and thoughts that were shared which reflected that it is often within the very personal testimonies and shared stories of individual experience that history is brought to life and is sometimes contested; we continuously unravel the past into our future in acts of resistance, healing and in the search for truth ... deep thanks to Sian Sullivan for organising an enlightening exchange of studies that bring to light multiple tensions between collective memory and personal testimony, and which question whose voices determine the historical narrative....a truly enriching conversation from around the world....' (Developing Countries Communications and Project Management specialist); 'I would like to thank you for a wonderful and inspiring conference. The dialogues over the weekend has opened new ways of thinking for me regarding memory and how history is recovered. I am currently working on my second book which is all about recovering lost and traumatic pasts. I found the subject matter of the conference absolutely fascinating and was wondering if there was an opportunity available to take part in it further. ... Again, I would like to thank you for inviting me to such a wonderful event in a beautiful campus' (Oral History research specialist UK); 'I ... wanted to write and say thank you again to one and all for a fascinating conference and lovely company. I have actually been discussing alot of what came up in the conference over the past ten days with both people in academia and non-academics. Invigorating thoughts and discussions' (Oral History research specialist Israel); 'I just wanted to thank you for welcoming us in such a nice environment!' (workshop participant from Croatia); 'The disrupted histories keynote lecture and workshop quickly became exciting spaces for discussion and were the finale of a two year project that gathered empirical date on a wide variety of experience of how human histories are disrupted. To be invited to join the discussion at this stage was a privilege. The workshop presentations developed into nuanced discussion as to how so many indviduals and communities have found their lives disrupted by external events. Professor Sullivan's work tracing the lost villages of Namibia unfolded while she worked with her informants searching for the springs and graves of their lost villages and her journeys into the African veld led the informants to recall forgotten child-hood-songs, physical records of which now only physically exist in an archive in Switzerland. The memories of the older generation of villagers in this study showed the importance of finding and recording human experiences before they are lost to us forever. Work on the untold stories of children evacuated in France in World War 2 [by Lindsey Dodd] and the vanished culture of barge workers who lived on British canals during the industrial revolution up until the early 20th century [by Jodie Matthews] presented unique and unexpected findings. As a researcher whose work examines how living through conflict and disruption impacts on the health and well-being of individuals, I look forward to further work that examines the life courses of those informants who contributed to these many and varied projects. Am also looking forward to contributing a working paper to this project's archive. Thanks to everyone for putting such an amazing event together' (PhD student). Dodd's work has featured in the French local press - in newspapers L'éveil de la Haute-Loire (9/5/17), Le Populaire du Centre (9/5/17), L'Echo Creuse (30/6/17) and on the radio station France-Bleu (21/5/17). She also attended an exhibition at the Tourist Office in Gouzon (Creuse) where a small exhibition about child evacuees to the region was being held (1-23 July 2017) was made possible because of research contacts she shared with the organisers.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Research Fellowship of the Collegium de Lyon (Université de Lyon)
Amount € 30,000 (EUR)
Organisation University of Lyon 
Sector Academic/University
Country France, French Republic
Start 09/2018 
End 06/2019
 
Description Archives Municipales de Boulogne-Billancourt 
Organisation Archives Municipales de Boulogne-Billancourt
Country France, French Republic 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Providing research context to some of their collections; potential of working towards a public output.
Collaborator Contribution Archival support.
Impact No output as yet.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Archives départementales de la Creuse 
Organisation Archives Department of Creuse
Country France, French Republic 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Working with some of their collections; working towards a potential public output.
Collaborator Contribution Providing information on the ground for oral history research; facilitating work with archival materials; agreed to archive relevant recorded interview material for posterity from this project.
Impact No outcome as yet.
Start Year 2016
 
Description South East Wales Regional Equality Council, UK 
Organisation South East Wales Racial Equality Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The research is on-going and long lasting impact is not yet measurable but this research is based on previous collaborations with Asian, African and Afro-Caribbean communities in South Wales that have been previously been facilitated by SEWREC. SEWREC also provides their expertise in collaborative work with minority ethnic groups. SEWREC has been the recipient of several grants. I have organised several conferences at SEWREC's request regarding the history of people of African descent. These were designed for a broad audience.
Collaborator Contribution SEWREC's strong support of minority ethnic communities including refugees and asylum seekers makes it their first call when trying to access mainstream services. SEWERC will serve as a safeguard and a benevolent observer during the interview process. March 2018: the partner has organised the meetings/workshops (transport, logistics, etc.). Together we chose 3 types of focus groups (young, older people and working, professional people). I conducted interviews but the partner was present.
Impact March 2018: I have been working closely with SEWREC and people of African descent, conducting interviews and organising focus groups aimed at bringing communities together. These groups have provided us with valuable information about people of African descent in Wales (mainly Newport and Cardiff). We have been able to draw young people, older generations and professional, working people to these events. Our findings will be published in a joint report. A background research has already been published (see publication section). It provides us with an understanding of the context in which this more focused research was done.
Start Year 2016
 
Description University of East London, Library and Learning Services: Archives, UK 
Organisation University of East London
Department Library and Learning Services
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My research will add to the tremendous work done by this institution to share knowledge and raise awareness about the history and stories of refugees. March 2018: the collaboration was fruitful. The institution was very supportive and provided me with material that is not available elsewhere.
Collaborator Contribution University of East London, Library and Learning Services: Archives, UK holds a great number of archival material that are crucial for this research. Their expertise in the field is also of great value. March 2018: the Library has provided me with a great number of archives that were used during this research. These are hundreds of papers. These are for example Papers of the Refugee Council relating to all aspects of refugee history, policy and practice, both in the UK and worldwide as well as material from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (London Office) as well as papers from the Northern refugee centre.
Impact Preliminary outcomes were presented at the workshop organised for the project in January 2018 (see events organised). Further details about outcomes will be presented in Paris at the workshop organised by the AHRC and LABEX from the 15-17 March 2018. A report was also written and is available: 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
Start Year 2016
 
Description "Migratory flows, colonial encounters and the histories of transatlantic slavery". International Institute for Migration (IMI), University of Oxford. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This is part 1 of 2 presentations that looks at migratory flows from Africa to Europe. The second one will be in 2017-2018 academic year. It will look a specific case studies this time from Europe to Africa and at circulation within Europe. This talk was necessary to understand the current state of affairs between Europe and Africa. It is important to go back at the genesis of colonial encounters in order to understand the contradictions and workings of the policies and politics of European border control stances.

The aim of this series of talks is also to interrogate the roles of 'acteurs/entrepreneurs' of history as both participants and writers of the stories from Africa. In other words it delves into the salient question of positioning and looks at several questions about Afro-European trajectories and knowledge exchange and production.

A blog post is to be found here:
https://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/blog/migratory-flows-colonial-encounters-and-the-histories-of-transatlantic-slavery

A Podcast here:
https://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/events/migratory-flows-colonial-encounters-and-the-histories-of-transatlantic-slavery
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/events/migratory-flows-colonial-encounters-and-the-histories-of-transatlant...
 
Description "Mourning in Reluctant Sites of Memory: From Afrophobia to Cultural Productivity" at the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam. (September) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This presentation was aimed at establishing links between the memorialisation of the colonial era and the rejection of the perceived Other in Contemporary Europe.
It took Britain as a case study in order to highlight the contradictions between growing xenophobia leading to Afrophobia on the one hand and the seemingly pacifying discourse about the memory of slavery on the other. Mass maritime exodus of people of African descent and of people from the Middle East as well as highly publicised series of deaths in the Mediterranean have stimulated discussions about national identities, European borders and even the European Union membership. Britain and France's stances on border control have ignited old quarrels regarding national identity and sovereignty. Public debate pre and post Brexit in Britain seemingly shied away from colonial legacies and yet the overall discursive field, including rhetoric often associated with foreign bodies, reminds us of post-war debates about the uncivilised new migrant. The presentation looked at black bodies as sites of memory and sites or morning. In this case the representation of Black refugees bodies in British newspapers and tabloids. It sought to highlighted overt and covert instances of Afrophobia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/132318/cfp-missing-memorials-and-absent-bodies-n...
 
Description 'Our hearts were happy here' - research blog (Sullivan) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This is a public online research blog post. It has only recently been posted but has been shared with interested parties in Namibia and has encouraged discussion, correspondence and requests for meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/227
 
Description Black Mediterranean and the Migrant Crisis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The aim of the event was to translate social science work on the Black Mediterranean, xenophobia and racism to activists and wider publics. The emerging Black Mediterranean concept draws on and expands the "Black Atlantic" to engage with histories of both cultural exchange and racial violence in the Mediterranean basin. This framework is being used by scholars, activists, and artists to understand the historical precedents for the ongoing Mediterranean refugee crisis. It provides a framework for linking border fortification and xenophobia with racism - issues often analysed separately.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://networks.h-net.org/node/113394/discussions/150072/ann-reminder-black-mediterranean-and-migra...
 
Description Blog on research trip (Autumn 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote an engaging research blog about my trips to France during the Autumn of 2016, where I listened to oral histories with 70 people, and collected 35 more. I am not yet aware of any impact this blog may have had.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/research-blog
 
Description Blog post: Reflections on research method and cross-case synthesis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote a blog post which elaborated my own reflections about our research questions and sketched out a plan for crossing our cases. It is not possible to report on the impact of this activity at this point.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/466
 
Description Disrupted Histories website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This is the public-facing website that has been created for Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts' as a means of sharing our research and events associated with our project. The website currently hosts eight research blogs (six in English, two in French), our working paper series, and information regarding our project research workshop in January 2018 - for which it acted as a central online space for sharing information regarding logistical arrangements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/
 
Description Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts Public Keynote Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To launch our Research Workshop on 27 January, the project Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts organised and hosted 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. 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). The lecture was delivered in French with translation into English by Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts Co-Investigator Olivette Otele and introduced by project Principal Investigator Sian Sullivan. Dr Alison Hems, Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Public History at Bath Spa University, acted as discussant for Professor Lavabre's talk. The keynote lecture attracted around 50 people from beyond Bath Spa University, as well as from the academic and postgraduate communities within BSU and an international audience of workshop participants. The lecture sparked more that an hour's lively discussion and audience members reported being very stimulated by the lecture, the discussion and the themes considered by the Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts Anglo-French project, particularly given the post-Brexit moment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/364
 
Description Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts Research Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In this focused one-day research workshop (on 27th January), preceded on 26th January by a public keynote lecture by sociologist of public memory, Professor Marie-Claire Lavabre, we sought to share some of our preliminary case research and to juxtapose this research with similar analyses conducted by scholars, practitioners and artists beyond our project. The event stimulated some very lively and intense discussion, with many participants animated by the correspondences between the different case research presentations, as well as the issues of memory and commemoration embedded in the case contexts that were shared. Feedback to date includes the following statements: "Thank you so much for yesterday and congratulations on a really wonderful workshop. It was a very enriching experience and I feel very lucky to have participated, - so many excellent speakers and really interesting studies.. I am still reflecting over the many ideas and thoughts that were shared which reflected that it is often within the very personal testimonies and shared stories of individual experience that history is brought to life and is sometimes contested; we continuously unravel the past into our future in acts of resistance, healing and in the search for truth ...
.....deep thanks to Sian Sullivan for organising an enlightening exchange of studies that bring to light multiple tensions between collective memory and personal testimony, and which question whose voices determine the historical narrative....a truly enriching conversation from around the world...." (Developing Countries Communications and Project Management specialist); "I would like to thank you for a wonderful and inspiring conference. The dialogues over the weekend has opened new ways of thinking for me regarding memory and how history is recovered. I am currently working on my second book which is all about recovering lost and traumatic pasts. I found the subject matter of the conference absolutely fascinating and was wondering if there was an opportunity available to take part in it further. ... Again, I would like to thank you for inviting me to such a wonderful event in a beautiful campus" (Oral History research specialist UK); "I ... wanted to write and say thank you again to one and all for a fascinating conference and lovely company. I have actually been discussing alot of what came up in the conference over the past ten days with both people in academia and non-academics. Invigorating thoughts and discussions" (Oral History research specialist Israel); 'I just wanted to thank you for welcoming us in such a nice environment!' (workshop participant from Croatia). 'The disrupted histories keynote lecture and workshop quickly became exciting spaces for discussion and were the finale of a two year project that gathered empirical date on a wide variety of experience of how human histories are disrupted. To be invited to join the discussion at this stage was a privilege. The workshop presentations developed into nuanced discussion as to how so many indviduals and communities have found their lives disrupted by external events. Professor Sullivan's work tracing the lost villages of Namibia unfolded while she worked with her informants searching for the springs and graves of their lost villages and her journeys into the African veld led the informants to recall forgotten child-hood-songs, physical records of which now only physically exist in an archive in Switzerland. The memories of the older generation of villagers in this study showed the importance of finding and recording human experiences before they are lost to us forever. Work on the untold stories of children evacuated in France in World War 2 [by Lindsey Dodd] and the vanished culture of barge workers who lived on British canals during the industrial revolution up until the early 20th century [by Jodie Matthews] presented unique and unexpected findings. As a researcher whose work examines how living through conflict and disruption impacts on the health and well-being of indivduals, I look forward to further work that examines the life courses of those informants who contributed to these many and varied projects. Am also looking forward to to contributing a working paper to this project's archive. Thanks to everyone for putting such an amazing event together' (PhD student).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/project-workshop-january-2018
 
Description Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts workshop participation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact I gave a paper entitled: 'Disrupting memory, recovering history; or, the delicate balance between life and evidence' as part of our cross-disciplinary project workshop, which raised questions as discussions afterwards about the nature of historical knowledge and the 'ownership' of the past by those who lived it. There was also discussion to do with the affective nature of knowledge and the affective register of scholarly writing. All of these issues push at the boundaries of the discipline of history and were enriched by cross-disciplinary perspectives. Postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers who were present reported finding new perspectives on their own work as a result of engaging in discussion about this paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/project-workshop-january-2018/research-workshop-jan2018-abstracts-...
 
Description Lunch Talk (Sullivan): "'Future Pasts.' Introducing a historical cultural mapping project in western Namibia", BAB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited research seminar given with Namibian collaborator Welhemina Suro Ganuses at the Namibia Resource Centre of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Basel, Switzerland. Sparked questions and discussions and led to further collaborative possibilities as well as to invitations to give a research seminar in Hamburg (in July 2018) and submit a paper to a panel on Cultural Mapping at the next Conference on Hunter-Gatherer Societies (also in July 2018).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://baslerafrika.ch/event/lunch-talk-future-pasts-introducing-a-historical-cultural-mapping-proj...
 
Description Newspaper article about evacuated children (French local press) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was interviewed for an article in the local press (Le Populaire du Centre - but as via a press agency, it appeared in print and online for a number of different regional newspapers in central France) about my research into child evacuees to this region during the Second World War. This was published in the newspaper in May 2017. People interested in being interviewed were invited to contact me. As a result, I was contacted by around 30 people, from the Creuse and from Paris. From that group of people, I have interviewed 19. The other people had comments and stories to contribute to me by email, but were not available for interview or were not direct witnesses to these historical events, but were relatives of evacuees/host families from the period.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.lepopulaire.fr/gueret/histoire/creuse/2017/05/09/des-milliers-d-enfants-evacues-loin-des...
 
Description Research blog post: Seeking points of articulation in a cross-case synthesis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I added a blog post to our website which described and analysed the outcomes of a project meeting specifically intending to develop the cross-case synthesis in our research project. it is impossible at present to estimate the impact here.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/458
 
Description Research blog re: public keynote lecture by Marie-Claire Lavabre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Research blog announcing and publicising Public Lecture by Marie-Claire Lavabre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/364
 
Description Research blog: Interviewing in the Creuse 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I added a blog post detailing my research trip to the Creuse in July 2017, and thinking through some of the project-related questions. I expect this writing to be worked into a more formal analysis at a later date. At present it is impossible to consider the impact of this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/478
 
Description Research paper (Huddersfield) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a 50 minute research paper about the research conducted during my sabbatical leave to students, staff and members of the local history society at the University of Huddersfield. That research was the archival research undertaken for this grant - I compared the oral narratives of three former children, and the ways in which they acted in their lives as 'amateur historians' in revolt against prevailing historical discourse, and the ways in which trauma manifested itself inside their narratives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Research seminar (Sullivan), !Nara harvesters of the northern Namib 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was a research seminar presenting field data from Future Pasts to a cross-disciplinary academic audience that included anthropologists and archaeologists and that attracted a number of post-graduate students. The seminar stimulated discussion and questions, with a positive comments reported after the event. It resulted in the presenter being invited to serve as an examiner on a PhD committee in the department for new ethnographic research in Namibia (although unable to accept due to dates clash).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School visit (Hulme) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I was invited to speak at Loreto Sixth Form College in Hulme about children's experiences of war, based on my oral history research in France.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Sound and (hi)story in Damara / ?Nukhoen pasts, from Basel to west Namibia, Research workshop at BSU 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation entitled 'Sound and (hi)story in Damara / ?Nukhoen pasts, from Basel to west Namibia ' for project research workshop, generated from collaborative research at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien with Namibian collaborator Welhemina Suro Ganuses. The presentation and associated panel stimulated lively discussion and assisted cross-case synthesis work for the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://dsrupdhist.hypotheses.org/project-workshop-january-2018/research-workshop-jan2018-abstracts-...