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Exile, return, record : a participatory & visual ethnography of making history with Guatemalan returnees

Tessa Boeykens (UGent)
(2021)
Author
Promoter
(UGent) and (UGent)
Organization
Abstract
This book grapples with the interplay between Guatemala’s violent past and violent present. The present study focuses on the politics of history after the internal armed conflict (1960-1996), exploring this phenomenon in a contemporary context of socio-environmental conflict and the defense of indigenous territories. We therefore travel to the remote jungle of Alta Verapaz, where the returned refugees of the multi-ethnic community ‘Copal AA La Esperanza’ are defending their territory against the possible construction of a hydroelectric dam. The returnees unexpectedly recruited me, a Belgian historian, to ‘make’ their shared history by co-creating a documentary about their past and present struggle. Starting off as a side project and a way of ‘giving back’, filmmaking with the returnees turned into a way of exploring the collective production and mobilization of historical narratives. This dissertation offers a performative ethnography of collective narrative capacity (CNC) by means of participatory filmmaking. At the same time, it exposes a broader search for participatory, visual and performative methods to empirically explore collective narrative production and mobilization in (post-)conflict settings. Finally, as a form of participatory action research, this investigation also explores the synergy between research ethics and epistemics and seeks to move beyond a research-activism binary.
Keywords
Participatory Action Research, Performative Studies, Ethnography, Historical Memory, Narrative Studies, Collective Narratives, Filmmmaking, Visual Ethnography, Activism, Qualitative Methodologies, Transitional Justice, Community Resistance, Guatemala, Historical Justice

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Citation

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MLA
Boeykens, Tessa. Exile, Return, Record : A Participatory & Visual Ethnography of Making History with Guatemalan Returnees. Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, 2021.
APA
Boeykens, T. (2021). Exile, return, record : a participatory & visual ethnography of making history with Guatemalan returnees. Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent, Belgium.
Chicago author-date
Boeykens, Tessa. 2021. “Exile, Return, Record : A Participatory & Visual Ethnography of Making History with Guatemalan Returnees.” Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Boeykens, Tessa. 2021. “Exile, Return, Record : A Participatory & Visual Ethnography of Making History with Guatemalan Returnees.” Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.
Vancouver
1.
Boeykens T. Exile, return, record : a participatory & visual ethnography of making history with Guatemalan returnees. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy; 2021.
IEEE
[1]
T. Boeykens, “Exile, return, record : a participatory & visual ethnography of making history with Guatemalan returnees,” Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent, Belgium, 2021.
@phdthesis{8714593,
  abstract     = {{This book grapples with the interplay between Guatemala’s violent past and violent present. The present study focuses on the politics of history after the internal armed conflict (1960-1996), exploring this phenomenon in a contemporary context of socio-environmental conflict and the defense of indigenous territories. 
We therefore travel to the remote jungle of Alta Verapaz, where the returned refugees of the multi-ethnic community ‘Copal AA La Esperanza’ are defending their territory against the possible construction of a hydroelectric dam. The returnees unexpectedly recruited me, a Belgian historian, to ‘make’ their shared history by co-creating a documentary about their past and present struggle. Starting off as a side project and a way of ‘giving back’, filmmaking with the returnees turned into a way of exploring the collective production and mobilization of historical narratives.
This dissertation offers a performative ethnography of collective narrative capacity (CNC) by means of participatory filmmaking. At the same time, it exposes a broader search for participatory, visual and performative methods to empirically explore collective narrative production and mobilization in (post-)conflict settings. Finally, as a form of participatory action research, this investigation also explores the synergy between research ethics and epistemics and seeks to move beyond a research-activism binary.}},
  author       = {{Boeykens, Tessa}},
  keywords     = {{Participatory Action Research,Performative Studies,Ethnography,Historical Memory,Narrative Studies,Collective Narratives,Filmmmaking,Visual Ethnography,Activism,Qualitative Methodologies,Transitional Justice,Community Resistance,Guatemala,Historical Justice}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{414}},
  publisher    = {{Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy}},
  school       = {{Ghent University}},
  title        = {{Exile, return, record : a participatory & visual ethnography of making history with Guatemalan returnees}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}