Life Story in Research
Concordia University, Montreal, P.Q.
Life Story Research Uses Oral History to Record Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations
Montrealers who have come from areas of violent conflict will be able to record their stories and have them preserved through a five-year, $ 1-million project funded by a national program called CURA, the Community-University Research Alliances.
This is Concordia University's first CURA project, and has the potential to promote healing in divided communities and a greater understanding of the impact human rights violations have on the lives of those affected.
Steven High will serve as principal investigator for the project. It will be housed in the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling which High was instrumental in creating.
Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations developed as a way to build on the History Department’s strengths in oral history and genocide studies through Frank Chalk’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies.
RESEARCH PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
"Like most urban centers in Canada, Montreal has a large, diverse immigrant population. In 2001, 25% of the city’s residents were foreign-born. Yet one distinguishing feature of Montreal as an urban community is that a significant proportion of its immigrant population is composed of people displaced by mass violence, ranging from the Holocaust to war and atrocity crime in Rwanda, Cambodia, Latin America, Haiti, and South Asia. Our proposed CURA project, Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide, and other Human Rights Violations, will use the methodology of oral history to explore survivors’ experiences and social memories of trauma and displacement. By conducting life story interviews with 1000 residents the project will examine how horrific events in other parts of the world have shaped the lives of individuals and refugee communities in Montreal. This project will make a significant, original contribution to the preservation of historical memory in Canada both with respect to transnational and local community contexts and realities."
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