Oral History of Wartime Sexual Violence Survivors
This presentation is about the issues raised by working on the oral history of survivors of sexual violence.
- Relationship between the participants – the women who tell their life stories – and the researchers – responsible for the interviews and for presenting them in ways that would be intelligible to the tellers and the readers.
- Reviewing the roles of the researchers. Different shades of involvement/ Outsiders/Simmel’s Strangers/Advocates/Asymmetric power relationship with the interviewees.
- Crucial ethical issue: how to ensure that the women who are willing to share their life stories would do it on their own will, that the telling would not retraumatize them, and that the researchers would represent them respectfully and truthfully/The risk of imposing a professional agenda even on willing participants.
- Use of gatekeepers to select participants.
- Oral historians as advocates for social justice/ Personal suffering as social suffering/Impact on power relationships.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Di Lellio lectures at the Graduate Program in International Affairs at New York University, NY. She is the co-founder of Kosovo Oral History Institute. Among her several publications, the following are relevant to the workshop:
“Kosovo: An Art Installation That Punctured the Public Secrets of Wartime Sexual Violence,” in: The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism, eds. Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberg. Routledge, 2021.
“Authors of their Own Transitional Justice: Survivors of Wartime Sexual Violence,” in: Kosovo and the Pursuit of Justice after Large Scale Conflict, eds. Aidan Hehir, Robert Muharremi and Furtuna Sheremeti. Routledge, 2021.
Di Lellio, Anna and Kraja, Arzana. “The “Re-appearing of the Feminine”: Kosovo’s Theatres of War Memories after Yugoslavia,” in: Kosovo and the Pursuit of Justice after Large Scale Conflict, eds. Aidan Hehir, Robert Muharremi and Furtuna Sheremeti. Routledge, 2021.
Di Lellio, Anna and Kraja, Garentina. “Sexual Violence in the Kosovo Conflict: A Lesson for Myanmar and other Ethnic Cleansing Campaigns,” in: International Politics, 2020.
“Historical Dialogue in Post-Conflict Kosovo: Oral History as Memory and Context,” in: Historical Dialogue and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities, eds. Elazar Barkan, Jim Waller and Constantin Goschler. Routledge, 2020.
“A Qualitative Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Silence and Voices of Wartime Sexual Violence Survivors,” in: SAGE Research Methods Cases Politics and International Relations, February 2019.
“Seeking Justice for Survivors of Wartime Sexual Violence in Kosovo: Voices and Silence of Women,” in: East European Politics and Societies and Cultures, 30 (3) 2016: 621-643.