Talking about protest. Oral history methodology in social and political movements research
Friday 20 September 2013, 9.30am - 5.30pm
Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) Seminar room, Millburn House
Organized by Angela Davis, Andrea Hajek and Grace Huxford. Funded by the IAS
Podcasts available here
Conference report and feedback
This one-day conference will engage with the politics of protest from a methodological perspective, focusing on the challenges, advantages and pitfalls of personal testimony and oral history interviews in research on social movements and contentious politics at large. During the conference there will also be a brief presentation of a recent special issue of the Sage journal of Memory Studies, on the 1968 protests in oral history.
|9.30-10.15||Tea & coffee
|10.15-11.30||Introduction (Angela Davis) & keynote lecture by Prof. Lynn Abrams||IAS seminar room|
|11.30-12||Tea & coffee||IAS lounge|
|12-1pm||Panel 1 - Inside the protest: the benefits and challenges of conducting oral history interviews from the 'inside'
||IAS seminar room
|2-3||Panel 2 - The state and/versus the people: building collective identities and negotiating political realities
||IAS seminar room
|3-3.15||Tea & coffee||IAS lounge|
|3.15-4.15||Panel 3 - Cultural memory and the construction of protest movements||IAS seminar room|
|4.15-5||Conclusion & wine reception||IAS seminar room & lounge
Lynn Abrams (University of Glasgow) - Oral history and empowerment: is it a hollow claim? (moderator: Grace Huxford)
One of the motivations of oral historians in the past was to facilitate the empowerment of those marginalised by History by listening to their voices and transmitting their stories. Indeed Paul Thompson argued that oral history ‘can give back to the people who made and experienced history, through their own words, a central place’. Today oral historians are more likely to use the term advocacy to describe their role in giving a voice to the voiceless. I would not question the good intentions articulated here but there are grounds on which we might critically respond to those claims. Is the empowerment potential of oral history a hollow claim? Can oral historians really facilitate change?
Panel 1 - Inside the protest: the benefits and challenges of conducting oral history interviews from the 'inside' (moderator: Katharina Karcher)
Imogen Michel (University of Edinburgh) - ‘It didn’t occur to me to mention it because you’ve been so involved in it yourself!’: The benefits and challenges of being part of the movement(s) you are researching
Kiera Shackleton (University of Dundee) - Cascadia Arisen: Oral Histories of the Cascadia Forest Alliance
Panel 2 - The state and/versus the people: building collective identities and negotiating political realities (moderator: Christopher Moores)
Angela Maye-Banbury (Sheffield Hallam University) - Grains of Sand: Agency and Action Revealed By the Counter Housing Narratives of Three Beijing Residents in Mao’s China
Sarah Nickel (Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada) - 'Spitting Out the Foreign Society': Identity, Community, and Politics in the Oral History of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, 1969-1991
Panel 3 - Cultural memory and the construction of protest movements (moderator: Andrea Hajek)
Lucy Pearce (University of Brighton) - A question of historical consciousness: the cultural memory of May 1968 in the student protests 2010
Romaine Farquet (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) - Using oral history to study conflicts within political movements: The case of the Albanian National Movement in Switzerland
All welcome but registration is required!
For email contacts go to the Oral History Network webpage
Getting to the IAS:
bus no. 12 from COVENTRY railway station bridge (no change given). Direction: University of Warwick or Leamington Spa. To get to the railway bridge, turn left when you reach the station hall, follow the path alongside the building and the rails, then go up the stairs.
Get off at Kirby Corner Road / Westwood Site (±25 minutes ride). Look out for a blue/white university sign with Millburn House written on it, on the left. Walk through the gate and around the building (left side).
A taxi fare is about £10 one way.
For more details & maps click here or just email one of us.