The Practice of History Shared across Differences: Needs, Technologies, and Ways of Knowing in the Megaprojects New Media Project

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Winter 2009


Journal of Canadian Studies





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In this essay, the three authors each discuss how the theme of sharing authority has emerged in their joint work on the Megaprojects New Media project. In part 1, Joy Parr recounts the discussions, dealings, acts of reciprocity, and public advocacy that have characterized her diverse and challenging encounters with communities affected by megaprojects. In part 2, Jessica Van Horssen discusses the particular case of Val Morton, a displaced rancher whose discontinued participation in the project rendered his considerable contributions to it, particularly an archive of documents, a challenge to notions of historical authority. In part 3, Jon van der Veen discusses how new media approaches to sharing such documents can take the form of a middle ground between a narrative and a database, productively drawing on the benefits and drawbacks of each to help others to tell stories with those documents. The authors conclude that it is this sharing of time, information, materials, claims, trust, and finally, public statements between different parties that accounts for the challenges inherent in sharing authority.