We are asking you to become a narrator of the unheard history of women in your part of the world and, in doing this, to join our great oral history project, which will eventually extend into all parts of the Eurasian region.
Who are we?
We are a group of academic/activist women who have come together at a time when countries in the Eurasian region engage in multiple conversations with the global community. In this context, we aim to help shape important discourses on national development and social progress, giving a hearing to diverse voices on the kinds of societies to which women (and men) aspire. Our editorial collective comes from various Eurasian countries and from the membership of the International Gender Studies Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford.
Why undertake this project?
Most importantly, the project is putting women and gender firmly and prominently on the map of Eurasia. We want to unlock new knowledge that arises from listening to the voices of women who have made a difference to the world around them but who do not appear in the records of our grand historical narratives. We want you to identify such women, whether they are public figures or little-known, and whether you discovered them in historical documents or they are alive today.
What all these chosen women will have in common is that they have not been brought into the mainstream of history. Their lives, choices, thoughts, actions and contributions have not ever been celebrated. We ask you to become narrators of inspirational lives of women who, through you sharing their stories with all of us, will become all our ancestors. Thus, we make our ancestors. The women whose lives we wish you to make known to us are not ancestors by blood but ancestors because they provide us – all of us – with the legacy of their inspirational lives.
Choose your approach. Lives can be narrated in many ways:
- through the power of words
- through well-chosen images given context by you
- through recordings or filmed conversation with an ‘ancestor.’
Our EFA project is creating a digital women’s memory archive, to be shared by all who care to listen. This memory archive will serve many purposes, taking advantage of digital technology to communicate and inspire across boundaries and walls of all kinds.
We promise to safe-guard your precious narratives with skill and care. We also promise to share the stories with the widest possible audience, for uses as varied as education, evocative material for feminist consciousness-raising, and for popular reading matter. The untold stories of your female ancestors will appear on the Oxford Feminist E-press (OxFEP) Website under the auspices of the International Gender Studies Centre (IGS), University of Oxford. Annually, OxFEP will be reaching out to a growing number of feminist scholars, researchers and activists in Eurasia, in the UK and worldwide. The OxFEP website will be widely disseminated throughout women’s networks, research centres and institutions and through our partners and allies, both within the University as well as outside it. Also, we are happy to help you tell the story in whatever form you wish to tell it, adding to your words with the sounds and images you choose.
How to start?
The following suggestions serve as a guide only, to be added to by you as needed. They are intended to give you an outline of what we wish the EFA Project to accomplish (and, in turn, you tell us how you specifically wish to do this):
- What inspired the feminist in you to choose this particular woman as your ancestor?
- Tell us the life story of your ancestor: her time and place in local history, and her life story and life world.
- What were the formative/key events in her life? Was there any particular event that transformed her prospects or seemingly ordained life trajectory?
- What was her impact on the women and men around her?
- And, today, what makes her an ancestor to inspire all of us?
You will probably have many questions to ask of us, so please do not hesitate to get in touch with Holly Combe, Managing editor, Oxford Feminist E-Press (OxFEP) firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are at all anxious about how the story of your ancestor is to be written or if you would like to know more about the project and its aims, please, contact Maria Jaschok, Member of the EFAP Editorial Collective, email@example.com.