Negotiating Tradition Archives in a Community Setting

Sounds of Silence and the Question of Credibility

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Tom Fogel The Hebrew University of Jerusalem tomfogel@gmail.com

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https://orcid.org/0009-0005-2760-6197
and
Dani Schrire Hebrew University of Jerusalem dani.schrire@mail.huji.ac.il

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Following the digitization of archival records of ethnographic work conducted among Yemeni Jews in the early 1970s, we presented these findings to the same community at the same location, fifty years later. In this renegotiation, our interlocutors radically undermined the credibility of our archival material. We analyze the audience’s reactions and the way they reflect different ethnographic dynamics, contextualizing their critical position in the tensions between archival knowledge and lived repertoire in general, and specifically in relation to traumatic experiences of Yemenis in Israel. Finally, we discuss how the suspicion toward the archive is embedded in larger current discourses on “truth” and “facts” and how in this context, it can be beneficial to scrutinize tradition archives in a community setting.

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