BCMCR Research Seminar – History, Heritage and Archives: Cultural translation, history and loss
1600-1730 Wednesday 14 March
P424, Parkside, Birmingham City University
Free registration at this link
Dr. David Gange (University of Birmingham) – Sea Sites in Island History: Exploring the Lost Communities of Atlantic Britain and Ireland
There are many more once-inhabited islands in the British and Irish archipelago than there are cities. Many of these had been populated for centuries before a flurry of abandonment between 1850 and 1930. Such islands are lined with ruins: but-and-ben homes, field systems, water mills, abandoned boats, fish traps and shell middens from before the age of buildings. Nineteenth-century people here lived, consciously, in iron age and neolithic landscapes. The coasts are thickly layered in names – Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Norse, Scots, Welsh, occasionally even English – that preserve their history of usage. Regions where such islands predominate are richly served by historical archives so that it’s often possible to link an island ruin to families who used it and the processes that ended its productive life. Those who abandoned an island such as Havera, Shetland, in the 1920s can be heard discussing the joys and challenges of island life in the uniquely rich oral history collections of these regions. This paper explores the processes of researching such communities, but also asks what vision of British and Irish history might be developed by seeing the nineteenth century – the moment when Britain was turned inside out by the advent of roads and rail, and small islands became for the first time in their history ‘remote’ – from their perspective.
Dr. Dima Saber (BCU) Resistance-by-Recording: The disappearing archives of the Syrian war
This paper will present the early findings of the ‘Resistance-by-recording: the visuality and visibility of contentious political action in the Arab region’ project after the first round of ethnographic work in Berlin in November 2017. Focussing primarily on the consequences of YouTube’s new algorithm to limit the proliferation of material considered graphic or supporting Jihadi propaganda, I will also explore the costs of the Syrian activists’ over-reliance on the current affordances of digital platforms and the challenges this precariousness poses for the preservation of a citizen-generated memory and history of the Syrian war.
About the speakers:
Dr. David Gange is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Birmingham. His books include a history of Egyptology, Dialogues with the Dead (Oxford, 2013) and The Victorians: A Beginner’s Guide(Oneworld, 2016). He is currently working on a book that involved kayaking all the Atlantic coastlines of Britain and Ireland across 2016-17,The Frayed Atlantic Edge (Harper Collins, 2019).
Dr. Dima Saber is a Senior Research Fellow at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Her research is focussed on media depictions of conflict in the Arab region, and she is responsible for leading and delivering projects in citizen journalism, particularly exploring the relation between digital media literacy and social impact in post-revolution and in conflict settings such as Egypt, Palestine and Syria.