Oral History Seminar Series. Paula Hamilton Between the living and the dead: what are the limits of remembering through oral histories? (Newcastle)

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Date: 26/03/2019
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


The Newcastle Oral History Collective is an inter-disciplinary hub for oral history research. Extending beyond academia, the collective collaborates with community groups, heritage organisations and artists in promoting best practice in oral history research. A key aspect of this collaboration is the series of public talks and events that we organise.  All events are free and open to all. To sign up to our mailing list, please contact oralhistory@newcastle.ac.uk

Paula Hamilton

Between the living and the dead: what are the limits of remembering through oral histories?

Tuesday 26 March, 5.30-6:45pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building

Flyer: Paula Hamilton at Newcastle University 26 27 March

The title of this lecture refers not only to the transmission of memories across generations, but asks when it is possible for some experiences to become public and why some and not others? Much of the discussion about oral history as a practice has been about its potential for liberation, social change – but what about the limits on what we can know through this medium? How do we ensure that oral history narratives that do become public are multivocal and not just one story?

To explore these questions I draw on my research about women working in the 20th century home as domestic servants utilising the framework of sensory history. I focus in particular on their experience of intimate relations with men, drawing a connecting line through what is now called harassment to illegitmate births and infanticide in order to highlight how shame shapes the historical record.

Paula Hamilton is Visiting Professor of History at the Australian Centre for Public History University of Technology  Sydney,  and School of History at Macquarie University in Sydney. She is a cultural historian who has published widely in oral history and memory studies and explores the links between personal and public memories. She has also taught oral history subjects at the postgraduate level and worked in public history for over thirty years, collaborating in a range of oral history projects with archives, community groups, museums, heritage agencies and trade unions. In 2016 she produced a Report for the NSW State Library which assessed the significance of their sound collection. Hamilton gives community talks and workshops on oral history.

Her most recent published books include A Cultural History of Sound, Memory and the Senses (edited with Joy Damousi) and The Oxford Handbook of Public History (edited with James Gardner). She is currently editing a volume (with Kate Darian-Smith) on Migration, Memories and Heritage which is under contract to Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies Series.