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Archives of Conflict and the Bandita* researcher - Talk by Professor Hilary Footitt

This talk was delivered at the Researching Conflict workshop co-organised by the Centre for Translation & Intercultural Studies at the University of Manchester, UK (see http://www.methods.manchester.ac.uk/events/2013-04-18/index.shtml). Using specific examples from personal research practice, Professor Footitt examines four questions relating to war/ conflict research. Firstly, she considers the nature of Archives as symbols/forces of power, and explores their limitations for conflict research, with particular emphasis on the ‘missingness’ and ‘serendipity’ of Archives. Secondly, she looks at the experience of ‘growing one's own archive’, developing an eclectic and organic approach to constituting an archive of practice (including types of archives, personal papers, newspapers, oral history, interviews, maps, photographs, memorabilia, cultural production). Thirdly, she suggests pathways of analysis through this new archive, with an emphasis on following processes, and seeing narrative cartographies. Finally, the talk engages with questions relating to ethics and the archive, in particular arguing for an ethics of attention and linguistic respect.

* Bandita: an image (suggested by Linda Singer) of the writer as intellectual outlaw, raiding the texts of others, and taking what she finds most useful: ‘The remains recycled make a different map, and mark new intersections between discourses, disciplines, forms of “knowledge” ’ ( L. Singer, Erotic Welfare: Sexual Theory and Politics in the Age of Epidemic. New York: Routledge, 1993, 22).

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