Harmata Aboubakar named SSHRC Storytellers Challenge winner

May 29, 2024 by Juanita Lam

Congratulations to PhD student Harmata Aboubakar on being named a SSHRC Storytellers’ Challenge winner. The SSHRC annual Storytellers Challenge invites students to demonstrate how their research makes a difference in the lives of Canadians. Aboubakar presented her winning story, “Contested Memories and Revised Myths” at this year’s contest in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her research asks: “How and why have the memory surrounding the Mau Mau uprising shifted over time by political elites in Kenya and Great Britain, and by the Mau Mau themselves? And despite now being celebrated as national heroes, why do the Mau Mau continue to face challenges in obtaining justice such as land back, and how may this struggle shape their sense of national belonging?” Drawing on archival analysis and interviews with former Mau Mau, she argues that memories shift in response to transnational politics. Watch the winning story to learn about the implications of this research for reconciliation, justice, and addressing historical grievances.

Harmata Aboubakar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology and a SSHRC CGS-Doctoral Scholar. Her research lies at the intersection of collective memory, violence, social movements, and race. She particularly examines how our stories, the narratives we construct about our pasts, shape our present-day identity formation and resistance movements. Through her artistic pursuits, Harmata aims to bridge the gap between academia, art, and storytelling, recognizing their profound impact in shaping our understanding of the world around us.