par Petit, Pierre
Référence Conference de l’Euroseas (European Association for South-East Asian Studies) (10: 10-13 septembre 2019.: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Publication Non publié, 2019-09-11
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : Since 2009, I have conducted research in Houay Yong, a Tai Vat village encapsulated in a multiethnic highland frontier between Laos and Vietnam. I have eventually completed a book about the dynamics of history, memory, and territorial cults in the village and its close region. The presentation intends to discuss the issues of methodology and epistemology I faced, situated on the ridgeline between memory studies and more classical history research. On the one hand, I was interested in the way the past is conceived, referred to, narrated, embodied, given material forms, and purposefully performed by people and groups having their specific agendas. On the other hand, I engaged with the usual concerns of history, and with the question about what ‘really’ happened, following a more chronological approach that has faded away in many scholarly works fascinated with subjectivities.My central concern is the relation between oral narratives and written documents (notably French archives): how can they be used together to produce a better analysis of history, and of historical imagination? These sources shed light on each other, and it was only through their entwinement that a plausible reconstruction of the past could be proposed, going back to the 1870s and – with more difficulties – before. I will try to capture the iterative processes of the research when circulating from oral sources to documents, and back. The discussion should, however, not be limited to these properly narrative sources: landscapes, material culture, rituals, bodily practices and other non-discursive elements have often been underestimated in the relation people have with their past – and with their present as well. The rekindling of historical anthropology could benefit from considering more seriously those dimensions usually left unaddressed in historical research.