A scholar’s multi-faceted approach to filling an archival silence

So in this story, an anthropologist is finding existing–but unrecognized–materials in disparate repositories, finding materials in private collections, creating new resources by doing oral histories

Later, in 2011, when Khosronejad was organising an event on Qajar photography and cinematography at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, he came across several photographs from the late 19th century of Africans living inside the harem of the monarch Nasser al-Din Shah (1831-1896).

Since then Khosronejad has been collecting photos that tell the story of African slaves and modern African domestics in Iran. His research has taken him to Iran, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, and he has sifted through several private archives including the personal collection of author Farhad Diba in Spain and the Archive of Modern Conflict in Holland Park, London. He has conducted dozens of interviews with Iranians including Haleh Afshar, the Iranian-born British baroness, who had African servants during the early 1950s and 1960s.


In the article, he talks about the need to bring anthropological skills and methods to bear on collections of visual materials. This may be another example of a “silence” being unmuted because someone with the necessary knowledge (as in knowledge of another language as in the example of the Native American letters, cited earlier) works with the materials. (As well as the importance of private collections in filling in gaps.)


A scholar’s multi-faceted approach to filling an archival silence

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