Previous Visiting Researchers

Professor Sean Field.

Oral history, Memory and Post-Apartheid South Africa

Professor Sean Field, one of the world’s leading oral historians, will be Visiting Professor at the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories, University of Brighton, from 13th to 30th June 2019. Professor Field has worked at the Department for Historical Studies in the University of Cape Town since 1997. Through his published writings, lectures and papers at international conferences and other forums, he has made a major contribution to the theory and practice of oral/life history and the politics of memory with a particular emphasis on issues of violence, loss and identity, usually in the context of post-apartheid South Africa. As coordinator of the Western Cape Oral History Project, and Director of the Centre for Popular Memory at UCT from 2001 to 2012, he has pioneered the use of oral interviews, photographs and the evidence of material sites of memory in work to create community histories of place, belonging and displacement in Cape Town, the Cape Flats and the Western Cape. He has also studied the politics of memory in post-conflict or transitional societies more broadly, and in relation to the movement of refugees within Central and Southern Africa. Prof Field’s work has been centrally concerned with issues of subjectivity and experience, trauma and healing, emotion and empathy, utilising psychoanalytic as well as cultural and historical methods. His more recent interests lie in trans-generational memory, gender and family history. During his visit Prof Field will attend as a delegate ‘The “I” in History’ symposium, 14th–15th June at the University of Essex; and ‘The Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity’ international conference, 27th–29th June at the University of Brighton. He will also contribute to four events for CMNH, see event listings below.

Professor Tina Campt 

Black Gravity: Impossible Stories of Black Possibility

Drawing from her manuscript-in-progress, The New Black Gaze, this talk engages the concept of fabulation as a black feminist methodology that challenges discreet understandings of memory, archive, and narrative. Focusing on the creative ways black contemporary artists render the black experience, the talk reflects on the visual modalities they are creating to imagine a different trajectory of black futurity. They are trajectories routed in and through the black body and its capacity to subvert the gravity of white supremacy that manifests as antiblackness. Tina Campt is a black feminist theorist of visual culture and contemporary art, whose work explores gendered, racial and diasporic formation in black communities in Europe, the US, and Southern Africa through the oral, sonic and visual cultural texts produced by these communities. Campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College-Columbia University. She is currently in residence as Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris and Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Professor Tina Campt will be contributing to two events for CMNH, one of which is a lecture that is open to the public, see event listing below.

Annemarie Majlund Jensen

I am a Visiting Research Fellow at the CMNH where I investigate dynamics of memory in and around the recent Northern Ireland conflict. An anthropologist by training, my research focuses on practices of remembering in contexts of post-conflict transformation. In my work, I strive to study post-conflict “normalities”, as it were, in ways that recognize their singularity and contextual specifics. I am interested in developing methodologies to that end. I have connected with the CMNH since 2018 and as a VRF I am joining its Northern Ireland group.

Dr Cesar Correa Aris

I have devoted my Master, PhD and Posdoctoral studies of narrative and storytelling theories, social recognition, political thinking and social justice, to analyze the hegemonic of official stories and those coming from the experiences of teachers and scholars (researchers) at public Universities in Latin America, and how these processes are related and influenced by poverty and social inequalities. These studies allow me to develop my professional activities analyzing Educational Policies and scholars´ educational, professional and personal lives itineraries. I´m particularly interest in the construction of political thinking in scholars in public universities in Latin America and how these political thinking is transmitted to students and to the university development and the relationship between this political thinking and situation of poverty and social inequalities in deprive communities. I studied my PhD. in a sandwich program between the University of Guadalajara (2 years), in Mexico and Université de Toulouse, le Mirail II. In France (2 years), related to the narrative analysis in Paul Ricoeur, and I analyzed the narratives of scholars in Latin America about the Quality of their lives confronted with the global hegemonic discourse of the Quality of Education. I did my Posdoctoral position (2 years), in L´École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, in Paris and the Institut für Sozialforschung (Ifs) -Universidad de Frankfurt, studying social recognition in Fraser, Honneth, Habermas, Sen and Ricoeur, and memory processes in Ricoeur, Michel, Bergson, Pineau, etc. After develop my professional research activity in Colombia for 5 years, I have been developed my professional work for 15 years at the University of Guadalajara, teaching in PhD program of Political Sciences, in a Master program in Education and a Master Program in Literacy. My courses are related with narrative processes, memory, political thinking and research methodology. I´m participating in three international academic networks: a) A socio-historical analysis in education international network; b) a Latin American (Also Spain), Narrative processes and education network; c) And I´m a member of the Human Development Capacities Association.

Dr Gabriele Biotti

Gabriele Biotti is a film theorist and a multidisciplinary researcher. PhD degree in Film Aesthetics at Lille3 University (Doctoral School “Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société”), jointly with Siena University (Dipartimento di “Archeologia e Storia delle Arti”), his scholarly areas are Film Studies, Memory Studies, Historiography and the Anthropology of Representations. He has explored questions of film history writing, epistemology of history of film theories, memory practices and forms of memory telling and writing. He has published on subjects concerning film aesthetics, film styles and the relationships between film form and the practice of history writing and memory telling. After a PhD scholarly work on the anachronism in cinema and on the essay film practice, he actually develops a research project on the ritual processes of remembering through an analysis of the Uruguayan documentary cinema. He particularly works on the social memory of the Uruguayan military dictatorship (1973-1985) through the documentary film practice. He has a particular interest in research itineraries where different disciplines cross each other theoretical questions concerning particularly the image, film forms, writing processes and the work of memory.

Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly

I currently hold a ‘Future Research Leaders’ fellowship from the ESRC to investigate the reconstruction of post-terrorist space in Europe and the US. The project asks: how is design used within post-terrorist reconstruction to resolve social trauma, and why does it so often fail? She compares the memorialisation of the 9-11 sites, the London bombings, the Madrid bombings and the Norwegian sites attacked by Anders Breivik – paying specific attention to the family-member and local resident protests that reconstruction efforts have often produced. Like the CMNH, I am interested in the shifting dynamics of memorialisation and the social functions it performs.

I will be a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre from November 2016 to January 2017, following her successful application to the ESRC Future Research Leaders scheme. I am Assistant Professor in Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. My ESRC funded research explores how memorialisation has become a ‘front’ in the War on Terror. In a sense, I argue that memory practices are ‘security practices’. In my forthcoming monograph, ‘Death and Security: Memory and Mortality at the Bombsite’, I make this argument by reconceptualising memory practices as social and anthropological responses to mortality. Using insights from philosophers of mortality including Schopenhauer, Heidegger and Bauman, the book explores memorialisation as the ritualised containment of death’s disruptive excess alongside the performance of social immortality.

The empirical dimensions of the book relate to the memorialisation of bombsites and massacres during the War on Terror. The security culture associated with the War on Terror and its consequences have been explored from many angles in the Social Sciences – however my research looks at the dramatic shift in memorial aesthetics and scale which follow terrorist attacks. Whereas Europe and the USA previously marked the sites of terrorist attack with small designs, usually plaques, bombsites are now made subject to grand processes of architectural overhaul replete with dramatic artistic centrepieces – such as ‘Reflecting Absence’, the black marble memorial on Manhattan’s memorial plaza, Madrid’s Atocha memorial tower, Norway’s Memory Wound opposite Utøya island, or London’s 7/7 Memorial in Hyde Park.

Why? In an era of heightened, hysterical fears about unexpected death, security policy has migrated from its traditional anticipatory temporality of prevention (‘stopping the next attack’) and now additionally appropriates memorialisation. Security policies now contain sections on disaster recovery – explicitly developing a retrospective strand of security which acts upon the past event as a ‘danger’ which needs to be contained through trauma therapy, commemoration services and architectural resolution through memorialisation. This ‘danger’ is, I conclude, the uncontained excess of death which disrupts claims to sovereign political authority. My research argues that to understand the incorporation of memorialisation within security policy, and the turn towards enormous post-terrorist memorial designs, we need to situate the War on Terror in a long sociology of death practices. We need to explore the biopolitical foundation of modern political sovereignty upon the flesh of the population (making live and letting die), and the medicalisation and concealment of death during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The terrorist attack spectacularly reverses the containment of mortality, provocatively disrupting the state’s performance of biopolitical control and authority. It is this irruption of mortality which situates the securitisation of the memorial. 

Jessica Matteo

I am an independent researcher interested in understanding the formation of collective memories and their cultural as well as political and social representations. I graduated from the “Sapienza” University of Rome with both a bachelor and a master degree in contemporary history. For my master’s thesis (2013) I researched on the memory of the militant antifascism by means of the publication, “Lotta Continua”, in addition to thirteen oral history interviews I personally conducted with the former militants of extreme left wing. The comparison between written and oral sources enabled me in gaining a clearer understanding of the essential characteristics of militant antifascism. I continued my research by publishing some articles, while also engaging more deeply into the question of memory and oral sources by participating to workshops focused on oral history and the history of the 1970s. Currently, I am a member of a group which is aiming to collect oral history’s testimonies of 1968 in Italy. This research is part of a national project promoted by Institute of the Resistance and the Modern Age. As a Visiting Research Fellow at CMNH, I am planning on expanding my focus on memory and political violence through an international point of view.  

Dr Fia Sundevall

I am a social and economic historian at Stockholm University in Sweden where I was awarded a PhD in Economic History in 2011. Much of my research has dealt with gender and/or sexualities in the Swedish military. I have recently finished a project on masculinity, citizenship and conscription in 20th century Sweden and Scandinavia, and am currently working on a two-year project on policy, experience and narratives of heteronormativity in the Swedish Armed forces since 1900. Within both projects I engage in oral history, narrative analysis and memory studies. I have also collaborated on two interdisciplinary research projects where the collection and analysis of memories have been central: 1) the Swedish Army museum‘s project “Conscription: Identity and material memories in Sweden 1940-2010” which aims to develop new methods for using museum objects to document memories and to produce new knowledge about the Swedish history of compulsory conscription; and 2) a FOI/Swedish Defence Research Agency pilot project to devise methods of learning about the physical and mental conditions of Swedish soldiers who have served on peace missions abroad since the 1960’s. My previous work includes a monograph on alternations in the gendered division of military labour in Sweden since the 1800s, edited books in gender history and international relations, and articles and book-chapters on topics such as militarization of suffrage, feminization of peace, and urban legends in military service. During my stay at the Centre I will continue on this path, exploring narrated memories of former Swedish conscript on matters such as pornographic consumption, sexual encounters, and heterosexism.

I was a Visiting Researcher in the Centre January – April 2105. My interest in the Centre lies in its interdisciplinary scope and its engagement in the relationships between past and present, as well as its research on war/conflict/peace, gender, memory, and construction of national identity. The main purpose of my visit was to further develop methodological and theoretical aspects of my research on sexuality and gender in military work and education in Sweden since the late 1800’s and to establish contacts with British social scientists for possible future collaborations. I also contributed to the Centre by presenting a research seminar exploring the benefits and disadvantages of web surveys as a mode of documentation and data collection in research in history and memories. 

Tina van der Vlies

I will be a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre from November 2016 to January 2017, following my successful application to the ESRC Future Research Leaders scheme. I am a lecturer and PhD Candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and currently in the final stage of my PhD project about national narratives in English and Dutch history textbooks. My research is funded by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and is related to memory, narrative and history. The study of historical analogies can provide insight in widespread ‘patterns’ for narrating, remembering and interpreting the past.

My research scrutinizes ways in which the past is remembered and narrated about in history textbooks for students between the ages of 11-14, published in the period 1920-2000. I examine history textbooks as layered narratives in which memories of different periods and events overlap, interfuse and interact (Silverman 2013; Rothberg 2009; Wertsch 2008, Shaw 2002; Vansina 1974). This enables me to study the dynamics, interaction and cross-referencing between and within history textbooks and to get beyond an analysis of inclusion and exclusion. I explore how and why textbook narratives about different topics, events or periods ‘resonate’ each other. Northrop Frye used the word ‘resonance’ ‒ a reverberating sound ‒ for echoing memories or images and stressed the potential of their metaphorical use, moving away from the specific original in a particular context, bridging temporal distance and receiving universal significance (Frye 1981). In this way, some historical events can function as important anchors in the narration of the past and in collective memory. For example, the narration of the English defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) interacts with the narration of the Second World War in English history textbooks. In Dutch history textbooks, the narration of the Second World War interacts with another sixteenth century event: the Dutch Revolt.

The study of resonance patterns in history textbooks can contribute to a deeper understanding of how history is narrated and what kind of historical consciousness these narrations reflect. Cross‐references between histories in textbooks could reveal widespread frames of references or common models for comprehending or constructing knowledge about the past. My research pays special attention to forms of resonance in the constitution of national narratives in history textbooks as a greater understanding of the ‘mechanisms’ of these narratives and the ‘circumstances of their perpetual construction and reconstruction’ can be a step forward in ‘defusing their explosive potential’ (Berger 2007; 66) 

Sacha van Leeuwen

I am a postgraduate researcher from the University of Utrecht following the MA Cultural History, Memory and Identity at Brighton, for which I am focussing on the relationship between national identities and political narratives. I am interested in the politics of memory and the way in which people try to come to terms with a violent past. How are identities reimagined after conflicts? I have studied a variety of case studies, ranging from Turkey’s increasing interest in public commemoration of the Ottoman Empire to Russia’s problematic relationship with its Stalinist past. Moreover, I am an editorial assistant for the International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity (HCM). As a Visiting Research Fellow, I will bring to publication the next issue of the Centre’s Working Papers in Memory, Narrative and Histories, which will be entitled: the Brighton ‘Grand Hotel’ Bombing: History, Memory and Political Theatre. 

Dr Carlos Villar Flor

Carlos Villar Flor is visiting CMNH from the University of La Rioja in Spain. His academic production revolves around twentieth-century British novelists. He is the author of the critical editions and translations of Evelyn Waugh’s novels Men at arms (2003), Scott-King’s Modern Europe (2009) Officers and gentlemen (2010), Unconditional surrender (2011), and has also translated and prefaced George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London (2010) and Waugh’s Put Out more flags (2012). Among his academic books are the monograph Character and Characterization in Evelyn Waugh’s novels (1997), his study In the Picture: The Facts behind the Fiction in Evelyn Waugh’s “Sword of Honor” (2014), and the volume of essays co-edited with Robert M. Davis Waugh Without End (2005). He is also the author of an essay on the literary impact of the Jacobean journey in Britain: English Travellers and Pilgrims on the Road to Santiago in La Rioja (2006). He is the author of four novels, two short-story books and three poetry books. His latest research is a (yet unpublished) book on Graham Greene’s travels around Spain in the 1970s and 1980s, and the memoirs inspired on them.