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Pleasure and Danger in the City
Volume: 29, Issue: 1 (2001)
Articles
Class and the City: Spatial Memories of Pleasure and Danger in Barcelona, 1914-23
This article assesses the contribution of written testimony, memories and oral sources to the urban history of Barcelona during and after the First World War. Because historical consciousness is constituted at the local level, memories provide the historian with an important window onto the responses of distinct social classes to transformations in city life and to changes in the ways in which urban space is used. I conclude by calling for oral sources, testimony and memoirs to be brought to the heart of any historical investigation into space and for the unification of the practices and ideas of urban, social and oral history in order to address the culture of social classes in the city.
Author(s): Chris Ealham
Keywords: community; conflict; spatial memories

Listening to Queer Maps of the City: Gay Men's Narratives of Pleasure and Danger in London's East End
Cognitive or mental maps can reveal as much, often more, about a place than formal 'objective' cartographies. Such maps are part autobiography, part myth and part the embodiment of the tensions of living in a given place at a given time. They contain the emotional, political and economic dimensions of how both individuals and communities relate to the areas in which they live. Drawing on oral history interviews with gay men in East London, this paper will examine the ways in which the local gay population relate to the area and will explore the spaces they have created for themselves there. How we negotiate routes between sites of pleasure and danger influence where we live, shop and cruise.
Author(s): Gavin Brown
Keywords: gay men; queer space; cognitive mapping; gentrification

Myths of a Beleaguered City: Aberdeen and the Typhoid Outbreak of 1964 Explored through Oral History
At the beginning of May 1964 a 61b can of corned beef was opened at a new supermarket in Aberdeen. This can was contaminated with typhoid from a river in Argentina. During the next few months over 500 people were infected with the disease and many more were suspected of being contacts. In this article three myths of the outbreak are highlighted and explored mainly from oral history interviews but also using many other types of source material. The myths illustrated are the 'beleaguered city' syndrome, the bad housing and the disinfecting of the streets. A factor in all the interviews undertaken is that the myths were often remembered more than the events. An important component of these myths was the role played by the media in creating the memory of the outbreak.
Author(s): Lesley Diack
Keywords: typhoid; corned beef; Aberdeen; media

Growing up and Giving up: Smoking in Paul Thompson's 100 Families
A collection of oral history testimony held in the Oral History Archive at the University of Essex was used to analyse the role of smoking in people's lives throughout the twentieth century and the extent to which increased awareness of the health risks of smoking has affected this. The use of existing oral history material had theoretical and methodological implications for the conclusions drawn. Nonetheless, the testimony showed that there had been a clear acceptance of smoking among the generations growing up in the Thirties and Forties. By the time of interview however, there seemed to be a widespread awareness of the health risks. This was most evident in discussion of smoking-related illness and death in others.
Author(s): Rosemary Elliot
Keywords: smoking; adolescence; identity; health; secondary analysis of data

Public History
When History Goes Public: Recent Experiences in the United States
Both academic and public historians in the US have been seeking to reach mass audiences beyond their professional peers. While academics as 'public intellectuals' comment freely on current political issues, public historians tend to utilize their skills more subtly to shape public consciousness through the presentation of history in museums, historical sites, documentary films, and Web sites. Both endeavours have encountered mounting criticism, particularly over the efforts of museums and historic sites to interpret the materials they display. Offering several examples of recent controversies, this paper suggests that historians who deal with oral as well as written sources have benefited from a truly interactive methodology, from which they have learned to listen to conflicting opinions and to incorporate multiple viewpoints into their public presentations.
Author(s): Donald A. Ritchie
Keywords: public history; interpretation; controversy

Prodigal Sons, Trap Doors, and Painted Women: Some Reflections on Urban Folklore, Life Stories, and Aural History
This article explores how black migrants from the American South made sense of their encounters with the 'Bright Lights' of northern industrial metropolises in the early decades of the twentieth century. It also traces the oral historian's attempts to understand the origins of a series of folk tales and personal narratives that elderly African Americans used to encode their own youthful experiences with the pleasures and dangers of the red light districts of industrial Philadelphia. To demonstrate how black men plotted their life experiences in the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son, Hardy produced a seven minute audio montage from oral history interviews, archival musical recordings, and James Weldon Johnson's recording of his poem, The Prodigal Son'. Featured in 'Mordecai Mordant's Celebrated Audio Ephemera', a series of audio art montages first broadcast on public radio in the United States in 1985. The piece can now be heard on the Talking History website, http://www.talkinghistory.org/hardy/html
Author(s): Charles Hardy
Keywords: African- American history; migration, folk tales; public radio; website; aural history

Learning
Using Oral History in Peer Education for Sex Workers
Secondary uses for data from existing oral history archives are increasingly being sought, particularly in terms of finding ways to return interview mate- rial to users with a socially dynamic objective. This paper describes one small experiment to use tape-recorded oral history extracts from interviews with sex workers in an educational context. Specifically, the focus was to make a twenty-eight minute health promotion resource tape, focusing on occupational health and safety issues. The tape was compiled from oral history recordings containing extracts of sex workers talking candidly about their work. It was distributed through sex work networks in a form of 'diffusional' peer education. The paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of trying to use oral testimony in peer education in this way. It reflects on key themes, comparing the peer education approach with other 'outreach' approaches that formally train sex workers as peer tutors. It seeks to under- stand the challenges and impact of using oral history in this context.
Author(s): Wendy Rickard and Tamsin Growney
Keywords: Sex workers; health promotion; peer education, secondary analysis

Funding
The Wellcome Trust and Oral History
Author(s): Liese Perrin

Reviews
Memory and Methodology by Susannah Radstone; Interviewing for Social Scientists: An Introductory Resource with Examples
Author(s): Hilary Arksey, Peter Knight

The Battle of Valle Giulia: Oral History and the Art of Dialogue
Author(s): Alessandro Portelli

Dream Spaces: Memory and the Museum
Author(s): Gaynor Kavanagh

Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore
Author(s): Alan Dundes

Narrative Matters: Teaching and Learning History through Story
Author(s): Grant Bage

The Seed Is Mine, the Life of Kas Maine, a South African Sharecropper 1894-1985
Author(s): Charles van Onselen

Deaf United: A History of Football in the British Deaf Community
Author(s): Martin Atherton, Dave Russell, Graham H. Turner

The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science: Comparative Issues and Examples
Author(s): Prue Chamberlayne, Joanna Bornat, Tom Wengraf

Long Journey for Sevenpence: Assisted Immigration to New Zealand from the United Kingdom 1947-1975
Author(s): Megan Hutching

People's Plymouth: Tales from the City
Author(s): Exhibition at Plymouth City Museum and Gallery