Discomposure or defiance? Exploring personal narratives of youth conflict experience in Northern Ireland
In this seminar, Dr Kate Newby will explore the conditions of possibility associated with the process of remembering youth conflict experience in the ‘post-conflict’ moment.
Dr Newby investigates the circulation of dominant and restrictive imaginaries of youth conflict experience in present-day Northern Ireland with a view to asking how these may work to affect the articulation of past experience at an interpersonal level. On the one hand, she argues that these imaginaries have helped to usher in a hierarchy of ‘speakability’ and ‘hearability’, or dynamics of power which works to de-limit the articulation and recognition of more complex, unfixed or uncertain narratives of the conflict and its impacts. On the other, she suggests that oral history narratives carry within them a deconstructive potential and that critical oral history can aid in opening a space in which to trouble and contest the conditions of the ‘speakable’ and the ‘hearable’ in ways that are unexpected and surprising.
Kate Newby is an oral historian with a particular interest in the politics of individual and cultural memory in societies emerging from violent division. Her recent PhD thesis was an oral history account of youth experience in Belfast during the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, 1969-1998. Her current research interests revolve around histories of emotion and conflict, personal and cultural memory, as well as critical oral history theory and practice.