Teleprompter: Where oral history and archival research meet.

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Teleprompter slides from my presentation at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Concordia University, Montréal. I presentation the evolution of my field research methodology and my approach to doing research in small, hitherto neglected communities.

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  • Teleprompter: Where oral history and archival research meet.

    1. 1. Where oral history and archival research meet. Doing historical research in small communities. Caroline-Isabelle Caron 19 February 2010
    2. 2. Presentation • Personal bio • Historical anthropologist • What’s historical anthropology
    3. 3. Introduction • Not going to present on oral itory methods • Not going to present on anthropology methods either
    4. 4. Introduction • Presentation of my personal experience in the field • Show how I have developped my field research method • At the confluence of history, oral history and ethnography
    5. 5. Introduction • I have done very little oral history proper • Several reasons • Previous oral history collections • Fear of strangers and academics
    6. 6. Introduction • My research projects did not require or allow for new oral histories or life stories
    7. 7. Se créer des ancêtres • A study of the evolution of family histories and genealogical myths over 150 years. • Oral history counter productive • Example of study on Forest book
    8. 8. Se créer des ancêtres • No point in doing oral history proper • Need to access genealogical research of genealogists
    9. 9. Se créer des ancêtres • Using networking to convince access • Meet genealogists as informants
    10. 10. Se créer des ancêtres • Let the word spread • Results
    11. 11. Jérôme • Great unsolved mysteries in Canadian history • Objectives of the project
    12. 12. Jérôme • Basic Jérôme elevator pitch
    13. 13. Jérôme • Ground work to gather all possible historical evidence on the person named Jérôme
    14. 14. Jérôme • Finding all documentary evidence left about Jérôme • Tracking him in the past, prior to his discovery in Sandy Cove
    15. 15. Jérôme • All eye witnesses to Jérôme are dead • Rely on interviews from 1970s • No need for new interviews • Only need for new analysis of interviews
    16. 16. Jérôme • Finding new stuff? • Situation demanding care and intuition
    17. 17. Jérôme • Methods for folklore research proved quickly the best • Using local cultural brokers • Using informal local social networks • Give and take
    18. 18. Jérôme • Example 1: in old Comeau house • Example 2: on Digby Neck
    19. 19. Jérôme • Sharing final results • Putting results in community hands
    20. 20. Acadian Commemoration • Project description
    21. 21. Acadian Commemoration • Identifying all commemorative acts from 1880 to 1960 • Many no longer in existance
    22. 22. Acadian Commemoration • Newspapers • Archives from organisers • Pictures • Souvenirs
    23. 23. Acadian Commemoration • Near half of sources not in research centers • In attics, basements, garages, personal genealogical libraries, scrapbooks • In people’s hands • In people’s heads
    24. 24. Acadian Commemoration • Approaching avery community as an oral historian would • To access personal archives • Takes a lot of time
    25. 25. Acadian Commemoration • 2002 to 2009, 1 or 2 communities per summer, 10 days minimum each • Return trips • In between correspondance
    26. 26. Acadian Commemoration • Start from local genealogical group, cultural association, historical association • Meet them, make them a part of the project, make the project theirs
    27. 27. Acadian Commemoration • Using local cultural brokers • Using informal local social networks • Give and take
    28. 28. Acadian Commemoration • Community insertion • Anthropological research methods • Hotels, restaurants, shops • Speach, dialect
    29. 29. Acadian Commemoration • Becoming friends, becoming theirs • Anthrolopogical research methods • Helping out
    30. 30. Acadian Commemorations • Becoming a fixture • Oral research methods and conversation • Informal interviews and verbatim notes
    31. 31. Acadian Commemorations • Example 1: Pubnico (success) • Example 2: Chéticamp (out of time) • Example 3: Arichat (community split)
    32. 32. Acadian Commemoration • Sharing the final research results • Giving service to the community by the research • Forwarding local memory
    33. 33. Responsability • May mean not revealing some results • May mean allowing full access to research without compensation
    34. 34. Responsability • May mean allowing contrary opinions in the final work, regardless of strength of those opinions • May mean treating myth as equivalent to proved history
    35. 35. Responsability • Always means keeping the local voices present, even in the final text, even without oral interviews • Always means treating amateur historians as proper historians (respect)

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