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Nationalist Memories: Interviewing Indian Middle Class Nationalist Women

Suruchi Thapar-Björkert
Oral History
Vol. 27, No. 2, Contexts of Remembering (Autumn, 1999), pp. 35-46
Published by: Oral History Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40179543
Page Count: 12
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Nationalist Memories: Interviewing Indian Middle Class Nationalist Women
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Abstract

This article explores the difficult terrain of documenting personal testimonies as a non-western researcher. My respondents were ordinary middle class women whose nationalist activities had not been documented before. The process of conducting the interviews made me aware of the significance of the family context, where my identity was continuously negotiated both by the respondents and their extended family. I was simultaneously positioned both as an 'outsider' and an 'insider' in these interviews. I also realised that recovering and interpreting respondent's memories of the nationalist movement raised issues of the construction of self and subjectivity. The ways in which respondents perceived their activities within the domestic sphere challenged the constructed historical knowledge, which associated only the 'public' as 'political'.

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