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

  • Sullivan, Sian (PI)
  • Dodd, Lindsey (CoI)
  • Otele, Olivette (CoI)

Project: Research

Project Details


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 public at http://disruptedhistories.net.
Effective start/end date1/05/1631/10/18


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