Tag: ‘digital media’



Conference Presentation: Digital Media and Dangerous Narratives

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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This morning, I presented (via skype, unfortunately) at the conference “Digital Testimonies on War and Trauma” hosted by Erasmus University in Rotterdam. It promises to be a fascinating event where oral historians who work among conflicted or transitional communities can share their experiences applying digital media tools to a range of issues, with a particular focus on the Western Balkan region. My paper was titled “Digital Media and Dangerous Narratives: The Case of Post-Genocide Rwanda.”

Abstract: Digital media, broadly defined, is rapidly gaining currency among oral historians and related practitioners as a convenient and provocative means of analyzing and disseminating the results of our research. It allows oral historians to move beyond written transcripts to interact with audio and video materials, allowing for a deeper understanding of the metadata – changes in tone, rhythm of speech, body language, and so on – that surrounds what is said within the interview space. It also has enormous potential to make oral histories accessible to a wide audience, particularly in developed nations. However, this paper argues that there are limitations to the use of digital media surrounding settings of chronic insecurity. Drawing upon five years of experience in post-genocide Rwanda, I argue that while digital media can be invaluable during analysis, when faced with a highly politicized research setting, oral historians must exercise caution. During fieldwork, oral historians must be cognizant of government surveillance and interference, particularly when noticeable amounts of digital audio and video equipment is involved. In disseminating outcomes, meanwhile, additional protocol may need to be introduced to protect participants’ identities. And finally, once the outcomes of the project have been disseminated, the enhanced accessibility and visibility of digital media can introduce obstacles toward future fieldwork. This paper suggests possible solutions to these ethical and methodological issues, but also asks oral historians to consider circumstances in which the use of digital media is inappropriate or unethical.

Digital Media Amid Highly Politicized Research Settings?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

In December, I will be starting a new research project that examines the social impact of a series of mass grave exhumations conducted by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) in Kigali and Kibuye in 1996. My project is being generously funded by the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Africa Initiative, and will involve several fieldwork trips to Rwanda aimed at determining what went wrong with the PHR exhumations from the perspective of Rwandan survivors. From there, I hope to be able to offer a series of recommendations for making the methods and mandates employed by international forensic investigations more relevant and culturally appropriate for the communities that host them. (more…)

The Prezi Experiment: A Useful Presentation Tool?

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Monday marked my first lecture for my new third year Anthropology course on Ethnographic Research Methods at Carleton University. I’ve been excited about teaching this course for months, and have dedicated a lot of time to choosing the best textbook available, and finding additional readings that are both engaging and will give students a sense of how the classic ethnographers approached the subject over time. But I also want to give my students a sense of the digital media possibilities that are available to them as fledgling ethnographers, who toward the end of the semester will be required to take my place at the front of the classroom to present their own mini ethnographic research projects. (more…)

 

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