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Wed 18 March
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 19 March
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Fri 20 March
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Sat 21 March
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    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 18 March 2020 08.30 - 10.30
R-1 ORA02 Oral Histories of Imprisonment and Camp Life
Lipsius, 307
Network: Oral History Chairs: -
Organizer: David Beorlegui Discussants: -
David Beorlegui : “Those Years Marked our Lives, didn’t they?” Memory, Experience and Emotions in Life Story Interviews with Political Prisoners in the Basque Country (1968-1982)
The entrance of a new generation of activists into the political struggle around 1968 provoked a considerable alarm among the Francoist authorities in Spain. From 1969 to 1975, several states of emergency were declared in the country from the first time by the dictatorial regime of Franco and thousands of ... (Show more)
The entrance of a new generation of activists into the political struggle around 1968 provoked a considerable alarm among the Francoist authorities in Spain. From 1969 to 1975, several states of emergency were declared in the country from the first time by the dictatorial regime of Franco and thousands of young activists were sent to prison. Despite the amnesty granted to political prisoners in 1977 by the new government elected after Franco's death, the situation was very harsh in the Basque country due to the high level of mobilizations and political violence in the region. This meant that the framework of exceptionality and repression remained implemented to a large extent.
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This paper explores the Radical History of the period 1968-1982 in Spain from the perspective of the memories of the Basque Country’s political prisoners. It focuses on those memories that could be described as “vivid”, “faithful”, “lively”, or “intense”, since they create a living connection to the past that seems to be felt in the body and enables to see and bring to the present what is not there, but still affects them. Drawing on the theories of affect and emotion I will argue that the affective practices that emerge during the process of remembering qualify and shape experience, giving texture and meaning to their past in prison. (Show less)

Olatz Dañobeitia Ceballos : Resisters: from Comrades to Sisters in a Prison Context
This presentation takes the life-stories of six women as a starting point. All of them were imprisoned in different facilities in the Spanish State during the 2000s. The specific characteristics, the functions and contexts that made possible their relationships are analyzed to conclude that these women have overcome the limits ... (Show more)
This presentation takes the life-stories of six women as a starting point. All of them were imprisoned in different facilities in the Spanish State during the 2000s. The specific characteristics, the functions and contexts that made possible their relationships are analyzed to conclude that these women have overcome the limits of what is understood to be a “comrade” and develop relationships that could be considered a form of kinship.
However, I will try to stay away from the normative straight view prevalent in kinship studies. I will consider how they have become sisters through mutual care and support, helping each other in the economic, moral, psychological, physical and political dimensions of imprisonment. Finally, I state that this form of engagement has been a key aspect to their resistance and self-growth in a context that imposes extreme vulnerability and denies power and autonomy to subjects. (Show less)

Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto : Material Memories of Camp Life and Disconnection in Swedish WWII Internment Camps
During WWII, routes of the majority of refugees in the Nordic-Baltic region cut across Sweden. As a country that officially stayed neutral during the WWII, Sweden offered asylum for people of various background. The refugees included Jews of different nationality (among whom 30 000 concentration camps survivors, Finnish evacuees and ... (Show more)
During WWII, routes of the majority of refugees in the Nordic-Baltic region cut across Sweden. As a country that officially stayed neutral during the WWII, Sweden offered asylum for people of various background. The refugees included Jews of different nationality (among whom 30 000 concentration camps survivors, Finnish evacuees and war children, Baltic refugees, as well as forced labourers and multinational prisoners of war (PoW) of German/Soviet armies. After their arrival, refugees were settled to camps where they first went through medical search and hygiene practices, and were later moved to working camps, or other accommodation sites such as private farmsteads. In my research, I analyse the experiences of Finnish war children evacuees of Swedish internment camps from the perspective of material memories. I will study how material objects can be used in oral history interviews to elucidate memories of experiences that are silenced, shameful and painful, and speaking for complex and abstract issues, for example related to disruption and continuation of everyday life. Mementos such as photos, letters and artefacts can articulate the suppressed experience of loss and disconnection, suffering and longing. (Show less)

Irina Mukhina : Soviet Prison Architecture: Past or Present?
Some eighty years after the height of the Great Terror, the physical spaces of the former GULAG compounds are being re-conceptualized by those who encounter them on a daily basis. These spaces are now vested with memories and histories of their own, oftentimes remarkably distant from their original purposes. My ... (Show more)
Some eighty years after the height of the Great Terror, the physical spaces of the former GULAG compounds are being re-conceptualized by those who encounter them on a daily basis. These spaces are now vested with memories and histories of their own, oftentimes remarkably distant from their original purposes. My field research in Yakutia (near Vitim, Olyokminsk, Lensk, and Ust’-Kut, to name a few) and the Perm krai (in Krasnovishersk, Solikamsk, Cherdyn, Sim, Nyrob and Surmog among others) demonstrates this complexity. While some former camps only exist as ruins and others are used as prisons to the present day (and at least one, Perm-36, has been turned into a museum), many others became objects of desire and admiration, turning them into prime real estate. Structures erected by former special settlers are especially sought after for their craftsmanship, conveniences and size, but even barracks have acquired a new life. As such, my presentation will address the complexity of retaining Gulag memories in light of new public uses of structures associated with the experience. While relying on a broad body of scholarship on the interrelation of space and memory, the paper will also present a rich array of visual and oral history sources to demonstrate how pockets of memory appear when people choose to selectively dissociate the physical space from its prior meaning. (Show less)

Dieter Reinisch : Emotions and Prison Experience: How Time and Space Shape the Memories of Former Irish Republican Paramilitaries
While there exists a wide range of historical and social science literature on political prisoners during the Northern Ireland conflict between 1969 and 1998, little emphasis has been put on the life in prison of the individual internees and prisoners. Thus, in my paper, I draw attention to the lives ... (Show more)
While there exists a wide range of historical and social science literature on political prisoners during the Northern Ireland conflict between 1969 and 1998, little emphasis has been put on the life in prison of the individual internees and prisoners. Thus, in my paper, I draw attention to the lives of individual internees and prisoners during the Northern Ireland conflict. Accordingly, this paper focuses on the emotions expressed by prisoners during their interviews on their lives in the Irish and Northern Irish internment camps and prisons since 1969. I will introduce how the passage of time and the factor space shape the memories of Irish Republican ex-prisoners.
Historians have long been preoccupied with the motivations and inner lives of individuals, as much as they have generalised about the emotional states of people in collectives such as camps and prisons. This paper focuses on exactly this aspect by using Irish Republican internees and prisoners as a case study. Since 2013, I have conducted 34 life-story interviews with members of paramilitary organisations in Ireland. I will draw on these recordings to analyses why, for example, prisoners who spent up to three years in isolation and on no-wash and blanket protests describe exactly this time as “the best time of my life”. In that way, I will demonstrate that there is more to war-time prison experience than loneliness and pain.
Additionally, I will discuss the intersection of oral history and the “emotional turn” in historical research. In accordance with these developments, I aim to provide an understanding of war-time experience, prison life and the prisoners’ afterlives during the Northern Ireland conflict based on the feelings and emotions expressed in the interviews with these paramilitaries. (Show less)



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