The objective of the PhD course on ‘Researching memories and narratives. Intersectional and transnational perspectives’ 25-27 April 2022, was to give PhD students skills in using different analytical approaches and methods to narrative analyses, including biographical narrative methods and strategic narrative methods (in the study of political communication), as well as in using intersectional and transnational approaches. Another aim was to provide knowledge in theories on memories and the nexus between memories and activism. Not in the least was the impact of the digitalization of memories and activism upon issues of social change on the table.
The interest for the course was enormous and many applicants had to be turned down. In the end, organizers Pauline Stoltz (Department of Politics and Society) and Ann-Dorte Christensen (Department of Sociology and Social Work) gathered students from near and far in what turned out to be very lively discussions about how to go about it when one analyzes narratives and memories. This liveliness was not in the least thanks to the active participation of keynote speakers Professor Ann Phoenix (University College London) and Professor Anna Reading (King’s College London) in the discussions. The distinguished teachers showed their international capacities in their respective fields.
Many researchers use sources that in one way or another contain narratives. This can be in interviews (with children, young people or adults; social movement activists; political leaders; etc.), as well as political documents and newspaper articles, digital narratives on social media, or archival data. We can also find narratives in art, museum exhibitions, films and TV-series. Power relations are important when considering narratives about memories of inequalities and in injustices relating to sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination. Recent mobilizations such as those relating to Black Lives Matter or #MeToo have for example raised political and social concerns over memories of colonialism, racism and sexism. Research in amongst others gender studies, memory studies, political science and sociology have pointed out the importance of intersectional and transnational approaches to the study of narratives of memories.