Reblogged: Oral History and the Gerry Adams Case

Posted on 02/05/2014 by

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A piece from Bethan Coupland’s blog, which I think will be of interest to many…

bethancoupland

The recent arrest of Gerry Adams is not only enormously significant to the stability of the peace process in Northern Ireland, it re-opens a number of questions as to the scope, purpose and ethical implications of oral history research.

The Sinn Féin president is the latest individual to be questioned by the police over the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville, a move based on evidence confiscated from the an oral history archive at Boston College. The Belfast Project was undertaken between 2000 and 2006, a secret collaboration between freelance historian and former IRA member Anthony McIntyre, journalist Ed Moloney, BC’s Professor Thomas Hachey and Robert O’Neill, head of the College’s Burns Library. Over the course of the project, McIntyre carried out dozens of interviews with 26 of former IRA militants about their involvement in and impressions of the Troubles.

Participants were contractually promised confidentiality and an embargo on…

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