Digging through the Archives

Two weeks ago, I went up to Boston to look around the archives at Harvard’s Houghton Library. We arrived on a Monday night, and I read from Tuesday to Thursday. And I do mean from Tuesday to Thursday. Those three mornings, at around 9:45 AM, I checked in at Houghton. After lockering everything except my laptop, phone, and chargers, I was buzzed into the “Reading Room” where I sat and read until 5 in the evening.

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To The Finish Line: Testimony as a Subversion of Literature and History

With every end there is an obligation to reflect on what has passed, on how I’ve changed during my brief yet wild quest for knowledge. But as I write this post hidden away in the confines of a cozy dorm, the same one in which I recorded my first tentative notes about Historic Memory, I find that I’ve very much come full circle. An academic purgatory of sorts between the exhilarating rush of the new semester and the rewarding trials of summer. In these past six weeks, I’ve worked on transcribing testimonies from small towns in southern Spain, from second-hand victims of Franco’s regime and the Spanish Civil War, in addition to subtitling a portion of the documentary¬†La Sauceda, de la utop√≠a al horror, which I’ve posted below for convenience. Yet in my attempts to answer my initial questions about the morality of memory, the stagnant and self-mutilating nature of trauma, and the problematic linear model of history, I’ve become just as confused now as I was from the start, perhaps the only difference being details and personal investment. For every truth uncovered, another is yet to be seen, and I’m still only at the beginning. Or more accurately, I’ve returned to the beginning, the very basis of this entire project: the testimony.

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