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Evidence, Memory, and Justice with Joanna Sassoon


Evidence, Memory, and Justice: Reflections on the National Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Project

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 12:00 to 14:00

This seminar will focus on the thinking behind a large national oral history project in Australia to document the lifelong impact of being in care as a child. This project was conducted in the aftermath of several extensive government inquiries, and before the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse. I will discuss how we addressed some of the challenges in conducting a national, government funded, historical documentation project in a politically and emotionally charged context. I will raise issues of methodology for large oral history projects, ethical questions for historians, and the difference between being an advocate and doing history. I will reflect on what justice means for those involved in the project.


Dr Joanna Sassoon enjoys an international reputation as an archivist and historian. She has had extensive experience managing archival collections in Australian cultural institutions, working the academy and in formulating social policy within government. She has published widely on environmental history, photographic theory and Australian history. She was the project manager for the National Library of Australia's Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project, and is currently a researcher on an international history project Pearls, People, and Power: Global Commodity History and Material Culture in the Transformation of the Indian Ocean World, 16th-20th Centuries at Murdoch University, Western Australia. She is in Canada as a guest of Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, and her visit is funded by the Australian Council for the Arts.




Concordia University