« Back to all events

Stories of Lives, Lives of Stories

Dates:
  • Thu 21 Feb 2019 10.45 - 16.00
  • Fri 22 Feb 2019 11.00 - 16.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-02-21 10:45 2019-02-22 16:00 Europe/Paris Stories of Lives, Lives of Stories

Walter Benjamin reminds us that History is made up of fragments and absences. What is left out is as significant as what is included . According to Grant McCracken, life stories are accounts given by an individual about his/her life; they become life stories when they are validated by other sources. (1988: 19). Hence, differently than in personal documents, the object is the individual whose history we reconstruct. (Angell 1945). While autobiographies, memoirs, or diaries are written for various purposes, life histories are collected for the specific purpose of qualitative research. (Della Porta 2014: 262). In tune with this approach, this workshop problematizes the visibility of different actors in history and suggests alternative ways of history writing by advocating a more inclusive historiography that gives voice to the voiceless . From famous figures’ obscured global moments to common people’s memory, the workshop focuses on the hidden, the untold, the forgotten. The question of agency, subjectivity, and the historian’s authority over it becomes entangled with methodological and ethical challenges. This ultimately results in a multi-layered interaction of the researcher and its subject(s) in an effort to co-construct the narrative. As the title of this workshop suggests, on the one hand, there are different individual and collective life-stories; on the other hand, there are the multiple lives and afterlives of these stories. They are born and reproduced through mediation, repetition, censorship, and selection; at the same time, they are shared through networks and shaped through intersubjectivity. They can survive in form of letters, memoirs, biographies, in the oral tradition and the individual and collective memory. In other words, the historian is as much part of the life story as the narrator whose life is told. On this note, the workshop will discuss how and why do historians construct and de-construct life-stories. What is the contribution of ego-documents to historiography and what makes them special? Is this kind of history more empowering and socially engaged and why? Barbara Myerhoff wrote that one of the most persistent but elusive ways that people make sense of themselves is to show themselves to themselves, through multiple forms. (1992: 257). This workshop will introduce a variety of life stories research approaches by focusing on the sources for writing life stories, such as archival sources, memoirs, letters, but also life story interviews. Particular focus will be given to the kind of sources available to historians and the methodological and theoretical approaches for its interpretation. The active participation of EUI researchers by presenting their own ongoing research and by joining the discussion is strongly encouraged. We warmly invite students and scholars from other EUI Departments and other universities in Florence to attend our workshop and join the debate.

Sala del Consiglio - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Consiglio - Villa Salviati- Castle

Walter Benjamin reminds us that History is made up of fragments and absences. What is left out is as significant as what is included . According to Grant McCracken, life stories are accounts given by an individual about his/her life; they become life stories when they are validated by other sources. (1988: 19). Hence, differently than in personal documents, the object is the individual whose history we reconstruct. (Angell 1945). While autobiographies, memoirs, or diaries are written for various purposes, life histories are collected for the specific purpose of qualitative research. (Della Porta 2014: 262). In tune with this approach, this workshop problematizes the visibility of different actors in history and suggests alternative ways of history writing by advocating a more inclusive historiography that gives voice to the voiceless . From famous figures’ obscured global moments to common people’s memory, the workshop focuses on the hidden, the untold, the forgotten. The question of agency, subjectivity, and the historian’s authority over it becomes entangled with methodological and ethical challenges. This ultimately results in a multi-layered interaction of the researcher and its subject(s) in an effort to co-construct the narrative. As the title of this workshop suggests, on the one hand, there are different individual and collective life-stories; on the other hand, there are the multiple lives and afterlives of these stories. They are born and reproduced through mediation, repetition, censorship, and selection; at the same time, they are shared through networks and shaped through intersubjectivity. They can survive in form of letters, memoirs, biographies, in the oral tradition and the individual and collective memory. In other words, the historian is as much part of the life story as the narrator whose life is told. On this note, the workshop will discuss how and why do historians construct and de-construct life-stories. What is the contribution of ego-documents to historiography and what makes them special? Is this kind of history more empowering and socially engaged and why? Barbara Myerhoff wrote that one of the most persistent but elusive ways that people make sense of themselves is to show themselves to themselves, through multiple forms. (1992: 257). This workshop will introduce a variety of life stories research approaches by focusing on the sources for writing life stories, such as archival sources, memoirs, letters, but also life story interviews. Particular focus will be given to the kind of sources available to historians and the methodological and theoretical approaches for its interpretation. The active participation of EUI researchers by presenting their own ongoing research and by joining the discussion is strongly encouraged. We warmly invite students and scholars from other EUI Departments and other universities in Florence to attend our workshop and join the debate.


Location:
Sala del Consiglio - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Workshop

Speaker:
Luisa Passerini (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Prof. Alison Light (Writer and independent scholar)

Contact:
Poppy Grima - Send a mail

Attachment:
Privacy Statement
Programme

Similar events

 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017