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Oral History and 'Healing'?
Volume: 34, Issue: 1 (2006)
Articles
Beyond ‘Healing’: Trauma, Oral History And Regeneration
‘Healing the nation’ was a central motive of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC’s interwoven curative and spiritual conceptions of ‘healing’ articulated the redemptive promise of the new nationalist political order. Consequently, psychoanalytic and oral history insights into trauma and memory were either simplified or ignored. This article1 draws from oral history interviews conducted in South Africa, which illustrate ways of understanding and containing trauma survivors’ emotions and the significance of disseminating stories. It is argued that oral historians should not cast themselves as ‘healers’ but offer pragmatic contributions to regenerating the agency of survivors and their descendents.
Author(s): Sean Field
Keywords: memory, trauma, apartheid, genocide, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Africa, Rwanda

Researching Chinese Women’s Lives: ‘Insider’ Research and Life History Interviewing
Western sociologists and feminist researchers have extensively discussed qualitative research methodology. However, such methods are subject to local adjustments when they are applied in a non-western country. In this article I reflect upon my experience of collecting women’s life histories in urban China, drawing attention to my position as an insider researcher, how I contacted interviewees and conducted interviews with two generations of women, and accounting for some specific features of the ways in which these Chinese women narrated their lives. I identify the ways in which specific social-cultural practices impacted upon my collection of life narratives and suggest that balancing western ideas and ethical approaches to qualitative research with local specificity is crucially important in such cross-cultural studies.
Author(s): Jieyu Liu
Keywords: insider research, China, socio-cultural practices, gender

‘Do You Really Want To Know What Your Uncle Did?’ Coming To Terms With Relatives’ War Actions In Japan
Despite the passing of sixty years since the end of the Asia-Pacific War (1937-1945), memories of the war in Japan remain highly contested and there is a variety of competing cultural narratives about the justness of Japanese war conduct. This paper highlights how these competing cultural narratives within the public sphere complicate efforts to face war history within the private sphere of the family. The problems inherent in researching family war history in Japan are illustrated through a series of interviews with Izumi, the niece of a researcher at one of Japan’s top secret military research institutes.
Author(s): Philip Seaton
Keywords: Japan, war memory, Noborito Research Institute, family history

The Attrition Of Memories: Ethics, Morality And Futures
This article argues that the significant and wide-ranging work that has been carried out in India in compiling oral testimonies of survivors of the genocidal violence against religious minorities after the rise of organised fascist politics in the country, and especially after the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, has profound implications for the understanding of the experience and workings of all forms of violence, including daily violence. It takes the genocide of Muslim citizens that took place in Gujarat in 2002 as a starting point to develop the concept of attrition of memories. It argues that the contestation around these memories cannot be seen in isolation, and that a method and form of understanding needs to be developed that relates the significance of this event (and the experience and memories of this) to all other memories. It explores the relationship of the attrition of memories to the subversion of ethical principles. It emphasises the importance of oral history in safe-guarding the experience of the survivors of the genocide and in ensuring that the movement for gaining redressal and restitution is continued. It concludes that it is important to understand the ways in which the memories of fascist terror overlay the memories of ordinary, everyday violence.
Author(s): Parita Mukta
Keywords: oral history, attrition of memories, genocide, ethics

Moving On: Reflections On Oral History And Migrant Communities In Britain
This article suggests that oral history is not yet being used to its full potential to explore issues around migrant communities in Britain. It argues that it is time to move on from questions about settling in Britain or food and festivals to others that are more directly relevant to an understanding of experiences and relationships in the early twenty-first century. Using Leicester as a case study, it draws on recordings from the East Midlands Oral History Archive to explore institutional and individual responses to what Trevor Phillips recently described as ‘the difficulties of different kinds of people learning to live together’, and to consider what oral history can add to current debates about multiculturalism.
Author(s): Cynthia Brown
Keywords: migration, Leicester, multicultural­ism, gender

Oral History And New Orthodoxies: Narrative Accounts In The History Of Learning Disability
Oral history has played a significant role since 1990 in developing new narratives and directions in learning disability history. In this paper we explore this role, considering both its strengths and limitations. We move the argument on from one of disputed ownership of the history, to its reliability and validity. We juxtapose testimony with archival sources, and we argue that in some respects, oral history has been used to bolster rather than challenge our pre-conceptions, and to create new orthodoxies.
Author(s): Sheena Rolph And Jan Walmsley
Keywords: learning disability, narrative accounts, new orthodoxies, cultural stereotypes

Public History
Listening To The Past On Radio
Author(s): Jill Liddington With Alan Dein And Mark Whitaker

Listening to the past on radio in the UK 1955-2005: references and bibliography
Author(s): Jill Liddington

Reviews
Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Author(s): Valerie Raleigh Yow

Women's Oral History: The 'Frontiers' Reader
Author(s): Susan H. Armitage, Patricia Hart, Karen Weathermon

Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants
Author(s): A James Hammerton and Alistair Thomson

Changing Countries: The Experience and Achievement of German-Speaking Exiles from Hitler in Britain from 1933 to Today
Author(s): Marian Malet, Anthony Grenville

An Unauthorized Biography of the World: Oral History on the Front Lines
Author(s): Michael Riordon

The Secret Cemetery
Author(s): Doris Francis, Leonie Kellaher and Georgina Neophytou

My East End: Memories of Life in Cockney London by Gilda O'Neill; Our Street: East End Life in the Second World War
Author(s): Gilda O'Neill

You Must Remember This
Author(s): Alan Dein, Mark Burman

Yorkshire Mining Veterans: In Their Own Words
Author(s): Brian Elliott

The Arab-Israeli Cookbook
Author(s): Robin Soans, Tim Roseman and Rima Brihi

Kit Productions


The Arab-Israeli Cookbook: The Play; The Arab-Israeli Cookbook: The Recipes
Author(s): Robin Soans