NEWSA and Archival Research

NEWSA and Archival Research

The past two weeks were busy.  I first attended the Northeastern Workshop on Southern Africa (NEWSA – more info here:  It was a productive and helpful conference; NEWSA is a small workshop gathering of southern Africanists.  Most attendees are historians or anthropologists.  There were a selective group of law and society, English literature, women’s studies and a few other disciplines represented.


The format of NEWSA is such that we are all required beforehand to read each other’s work, and to provide questions and substantive feedback and recommendations.  It is a very intensive three days! 


Highlights included a paper focused on memory work in Angola.  The paper featured a beautiful section devoted to formal memory work honoring survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Angola.  The author emphasized how this may need to be an envisioned, but not materialized project.  (I’m not citing the author here as they are planning to publish the work soon!)


Following NEWSA, I had a busy four days of conducting archival research at Yale and Columbia.  It was exhilarating to practice this research method AND to explore the Reddy and McDougall collections.  At Yale, I spent a day combing through the T.S. Reddy Collection, and found a number of useful sources.  After Yale, I took the train to New York, and visited the Gay McDougall collection at Columbia University.  The McDougall collection was equally fascinating, and I appreciated the breadth and depth of Gay McDougall’s leadership in terms of ending the apartheid movement in southern Africa.


I highly recommend attending NEWSA, and exploring the extremely professional and well-organized archives at Yale and Columbia!

(Photo below:  ​Tarquin Schwartz, Dr. Lilly Havstad and myself on the "New Histories of Gender and Politics" NEWSA panel.)




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