Migration history, memory and oral history – the AMHN

A post that came out of the launch of the Australian Migration History Network, at the 2018 Australian Historical Association, in which I broadly address the relationship between memory studies, oral history and migration history and new developments in Australian historiography.

My interest in migration and settlement has been framed by a regard for living memories and collective memory practices, as well as a training in the related methods of oral history and public history. Like the study of migration, collective memory studies owes much to other disciplines, including cultural studies and anthropology.

Conceptualising collective memory in multicultural and transnational contexts compels us to consider dialogical exchange between different memory traditions, but not without being cognizant of ‘the differentials of access and power that mark the public sphere’ (Rothberg 2009). This key concern in the literature—the tension but also collaboration between official and vernacular memory work, their meeting points and negotiations—has lent itself to the study of so-called marginalised peoples. In Australia, it has often included the study of migrant or ethnic-minority groups in national settings.

Some of this work, including my own, takes as a subject of analysis…

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