The latest issue of the Oral History Review has just launched and in addition to an impressive series of articles by Henry Greenspan, Sherna Berger Gluck, Linda Shopes, and the late Kim Lacy Rogers, among others, it includes an extended version of a recent online exchange between Alexander Freund and I titled “Confessing Animals,” Redux: A Conversation between Alexander Freund and Erin Jessee.” Using Freund’s recent OHR article “‘Confessing Animals’: Towards a Longue Durée History of the Oral History Interview” as a starting point, we discuss the challenges of adapting oral historical practices in different settings and in the face of growing popular and professional interest in “storytelling,” broadly defined.
New Journal Article: “Confessing Animals,” Redux – A Conversation between Alexander Freund and Erin JesseeSeptember 2nd, 2014
Deo Komakech conducts an interview in Bolo
Al-Jazeera’s online digital magazine has just published a feature piece I co-authored with photojournalist Marc Ellison on the work of Refugee Law Project’s Deo Komakech in northern Uganda. From his hometown of Kitgum, Deo has taken on an incredible project that seeks to document previously unreported mass atrocities that occurred during the recent twenty-year civil war in northern Uganda, whether perpetrated by the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) or the Ugandan military. Since launching the project in September 2010, he has archived Ugandan newspaper reports pertaining to over 4,500 LRA attacks and abductions and trained community leaders across northern Uganda in documenting additional atrocities that have yet to be reported. Thus far, an additional 230 attacks have been revealed, though more will undoubtedly follow as he extends. Read the rest of this entry »
The Oral History Review blog has recently published the second part of an email exchange Alex Freund and I had surrounding the publication of his new article “Confessing Animals”: Toward a Longue Durée History of the Oral History Interview.” In it, we discuss the troubling tendency for many oral history practitioners to, following the stated benefits of narrative therapy, claim that the interview experience is inherently cathartic and healing for interviewees. To read part two of the exchange, visit: Storytelling in Oral History: An Exchange, Part 2.
Last week, the Approaching Perpetrators workshop took place at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. Generously supported by the Liu Institute, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the workshop facilitated the establishment of a new network of ethnographers skilled in working with perpetrators, broadly defined, and provided an opportunity for indepth knowledge exchange on topics related to negotiating gatekeepers and building relationships, language and the consequences of labelling people as perpetrators, morality, ethics and voice, and managing danger surrounding fieldwork. Read the rest of this entry »
New Journal Article: Good Kings, Bloody Tyrants, and Everything In Between: Representations of the Monarchy in Post-Genocide RwandaMay 21st, 2014
Sarah Watkins and I have just published an article titled “Good Kings, Bloody Tyrants, and Everything In Between: Representations of the Monarchy in Post-Genocide Rwanda” in History in Africa: A Journal of Method. It is the outcome of our first (but hopefully not last) collaboration, and uses modern-day narratives related to the Rwandan monarchy as a lens for understanding the current political climate in Rwanda. The piece analyzes three narratives common in post-genocide Rwanda, as articulated by Rwandans from diverse regional, economic, ethnic, and political backgrounds. In each instance, we find that the narrators imbued the Rwandan monarchy with attributes that reflected their individual political affiliations, lived experiences, and identity. As such, we approach these narratives as mythico-histories rather than historical fact. Read the rest of this entry »