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Periodisation and confusion

by on September 28, 2012

Looking through our material and writing some copy for the upcoming Bloomsbury Festival, I noticed an interesting point about the chronology we’re using for the website. We’ve organised the last section of material in the period 1978 to 1982, but the English edition of The Mozambican Miner was published in 1977. In fact, Ruth spent a large part of 1977 in Maputo working with the CEA and directing the fieldwork for the project. As Alpheus Mangezi pointed out in his paper at our conference , they first met early in 1977 at the Centre  and worked together closely from that point.

That said, our decision to class the Maputo period from 1978 still stands. Her work there prior to 1978 was on a temporary basis, and until then it wasn’t clear that she would move her base of operations entirely back to Africa. But we should take this as a sign that the people’s lives defy the kind of easy periodisation that we would find more convenient as archivists and as historians.

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