From the archives to the streets listening to the global 1960s in the former French empire

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Abstract

In the spring of 1968, activists across the globe took to the streets and clashed with authorities to protest neo-imperialism, oppressive regimes, and the postcolonial order of things. While there is no shortage of archival material documenting this type of activism during France's mai 68, this is often not the case for similar activism in places like Tunisia and Senegal. This article discusses the importance of personal archives and oral histories for analyzing lesser-known activism of the 1960s and 1970s in the former French empire. On the one hand, oral histories can help clarify archival material; on the other hand, they can further muddy politically charged narratives where past, present, and future collide. Through an analysis of interviews conducted with 1968 participants in France, Tunisia, and Senegal, I uncover the promises and perils of expanding conventional notions of the archive for the study of the "global 1960s".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-342
Number of pages24
JournalFrench Historical Studies
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History

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