Oral History and Activism Workshop:
Activists of the ‘Long Sixties’ and the politics of memory


Dr Manus McGrogan, Visiting Research Fellow
Monday 23 January, 1.00pm,
Grand Parade, G4, City Campus 
Attendance also Online
Please not the date change of this event.
Riots, radicalism and revolutions – hallmarks of the ‘Long Sixties’, a period of social and political revolts stretching from late 50s to mid 70s, as dubbed by, amongst others, historian Arthur Marwick. One such ‘event’ was May ’68 in France, an epoch-defining uprising that paralysed the country with strikes and occupations.
In May’s aftermath its younger, ex-student radicals sought to prolong what they saw as May’s ‘cultural revolution’ in myriad forms, from Marxist groupuscules to women’s lib, anti racist activism, communal living, and beyond. 
In his doctoral and postdoc work, Dr McGrogan sought to reconstitute specific political (sub-)cultures of May through the words of their adherents. This proved to be an exercise not simply in memory gathering, but also in the critical dissection of media, politician and institutional narratives that painted May ’68 and other revolts as aberrations, or more kindly (yet still dismissively) as a rush of blood to the head (of youthful idealism) or a simple ‘change of habits’. As events that should remain firmly in the past and, as such, divesting mass movements of their radical political content.
The collection of oral testimony in the (re-)discovery of forgotten/ignored social movements entailed a careful contextualisation (some call it minesweeping) of how representations of the radical sixties have been fashioned, distorted and contested in the intervening years.
Dr McGrogan will use this workshop as a way to engage with some of the problems he encountered whilst researching social movements of the ‘Long Sixties’ regarding the search for actors/activists, the construction of questionnaires, and the recreation of the past with oral history. A follow-up workshop is planned for Monday 23 January at 1.00pm.
To book your place in-person, click here.
To attend online, click here.