Accepted paper:

'Silence, silence. The story is (not) done': redeploying the Harvard-Irish Mission (1930-1936) archive for the present.

Authors:

Anne Byrne (NUI Galway Ireland)

Paper short abstract:

How might anthropological archives be expanded to articulate concerns of the present? Using a multi-disciplinary perspective on the Harvard-Irish Mission (1930-1936), exemplars on sharing the gift of the archive for diverse interests are interrogated for future use.

Paper long abstract:

How might anthropological archives be expanded to articulate concerns of the present? Using a multi-disciplinary perspective, the creative arts, community engagement, rural development and scholarship on the Harvard-Irish Mission (1930-1936), exemplars on sharing the gift of the archive for diverse interests are interrogated for future use. The Harvard-Irish Mission (1930-36) (archaeology, physical anthropology and social anthropology) persistently attracts multi-disciplinary creative inquiry. The import of scholarly studies on communities, history of disciplines, narratives of Ireland continue to inspire new work. Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball's Family and Community in Ireland (1940, 1968, 2001) is a classical account of a changing rural society and a standard reference for understanding the agricultural family system and consequences for society and individuals. Scholarly studies of the Irish as anomic and a rural society in decline followed -and contested- by academics and research participants. The history and impact of the publications and unpublished archives on local communities in Ireland has been critically examined (Byrne 2017, Byrne and O'Mahony 2012, 2013) for Irish ethnography, community identity, speaking back to the archive and reimagining new research relations. 'Successors read Predecessors' returned the unpublished anthropological field-diaries (a gift) to communities written about in the published accounts. A two-year community project, reading Kimball's field-diary, produced a multi-media exhibition of family and forbears that altered the local reception of the Harvard study. A multi-disciplinary, participatory, community-based model for ethnographic and anthropological research 'across the generations' was implemented and has endured.

panel P050
Writing the history of anthropology in a global era [History of Anthropology Network]