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Volume: 40, Issue: 1 (2012)
Cubans' life stories: the pains and pleasures of living in a communist society
It is widely believed that in communist countries oral history is fatally flawed because people fear talking about their lives. Luisa Passerini proposed that 'memory seems to have a flattening effect on the concept of totalitarianism'. The oral history project I directed in Cuba from 2004 to 2010 found that Cubans frequently defied the official narrative of the Revolution. Despite initial apprehension, most people told their life story with considerable candour, describing the pleasures and the difficulties of life in communist Cuba. I explore how two Cubans, from opposite sides of the political spectrum, wove into their narratives the most contentious issue in contemporary Cuba: increasing class disparity. In deliberate defiance of official policy they described the egalitarian pleasures of their youth and the stings of inequality.
Author(s): Elizabeth Dore
Keywords: Cuba, life history, communism, inequality, egalitarianism

Chileans in exile: experiences of British interaction and return
This article explores the memories of Chilean exiles who settled in Britain. Narrating the journeys of these exiles using interview material, the article draws out the tensions which emerged as a highly politicised grouping of Chilean exiles arrived in 1970s Britain. During high points of struggle, exiles interacted with political movements in Britain, while the idea of return to Chile was also significant within exile networks. The article follows the exiles who eventually returned to Chile during the late 1980s and 1990s, examining the contradictions which emerged as the realities of return contrasted with a previously held idea of this journey.
Author(s): Shirin Hirsch
Keywords: Exile, Chilean history, 1970s Britain

Constructing lives: a new approach to understanding migrants' oral history narratives
When oral historians clarify their method of narrative analysis they provide a deeper understanding of how individuals construct their narratives as well as highlighting their own decision making. This paper contributes a new approach to the already rich field of oral history analysis. I adapt an approach from feminist psychology and apply this method to two life histories of New Zealand migrants to Australia. A close reading of Laura's and George's use of memory, causation and counterfactual reflection captures insights about the key themes influencing the construction of their narratives, as well as revealing the pivotal role of migration in their life.
Author(s): Rosemary Baird
Keywords: Migration, narrative analysis, counterfactual reflection, causation, memory

'It's as if you are dropped from the moon': exploring Ethiopian cultural places and well-being through oral histories with Ethiopian forced migrants in London
This paper explores the impact that cultural places have on identity and well-being for Ethiopian forced migrants in London. Using an oral history approach, it focuses on the everyday lives of participants and provides a unique insight into individual experiences of Ethiopians in exile. It is apparent from the narratives that individuals displaced by conflict utilise a range of resources, including internal cultural resources, to help them to comprehend, manage and transform experiences and important social and cultural relations and practices. This paper contributes to the limited research on Ethiopians in the UK and on issues relating to refugee health and place in exile.
Author(s): David Palmer
Keywords: Ethiopians, forced migration, well-being, health and place, Buna ceremony

Women's liberation, relationships and the 'vicinity of trauma'
This article enacts a compassionate historiography of the UK Women's Liberation Movement (UK WLM). It uses oral history as a methodology to record and create insights about the emotion work of history. It argues that historical accounts of the UK WLM need to incorporate understandings of the emotional intensity of feminist activism, and understand it in relation to the vicinity of trauma, experimental female homosocial bonds and the difficulty of finding language and a feminist voice that can articulate political and personal claims.
Author(s): Deborah M Withers
Keywords: Women's Liberation Movement, compassionate historiography, female homosocial, female homoerotic, voice

Prompting techniques: researching subjectivities in educational history
On the basis of two parallel studies of school memories we compare individual life story interviews with collective biography interviews. We show how these related interview techniques offer graduated and complementary approaches to the production of interview-based memories. We further demonstrate how the use of individual life story interviews and collective biographies each allows its own mode of invitations that sets the stage for the narrations of past subjectivities. As we will exemplify, the methods chosen have an impact on the very construction of the field of research. We argue that this is connected to the way the compared techniques lend a different weight to horizontal as opposed to vertical perspectives of time.
Author(s): Helle Bjerg and Lisa Rosen Rasmussen
Keywords: Collective biography, Denmark 1948-2008, interview techniques, life stories, primary and secondary school

History to go: oral history, audiowalks and mobile media
Audiowalks are becoming an increasingly popular way of experiencing history and heritage of all kinds, and oral history is uniquely placed to produce very powerful presentations linking spoken memory with specific places. This article surveys four key audiowalks: The Ground Zero Sonic Memorial Soundwalk, Mike Pearson's Carrlands, Graeme Miller's Linked, and Toby Butler's Drifting. An analysis of some of the main contexts and construction techniques of these walks provides a useful guide for the creation of future oral history audiowalks; in particular the use of fragmented narrative is discussed as a recurrent form of editing. Finally, an analysis of the implications of GPS-media for the art of audiowalks is considered.
Author(s): Simon Bradley
Keywords: Audiowalks, audio walks, locative media, mobile media, memoryscape, soundwalk

No more role models: using oral history to find your own way A roundtable discussion with the young women from the 'Lessons from the Past' project

Moving Stories: An Intimate History Of Four Women Across Two Countries
Author(s): Alistair Thomson, with Phyllis Cave, Gwen Good, Joan Pickett, and Dorothy Wright

Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011, 344pp, £18.95 (paperback).

The Wonder Of Their Voices. The 1946 Holocaust Interviews Of David Boder
Author(s): Alan Rosen

New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, 310pp, £50.00 (hardback).

Fenwomen: A Portrait Of Women In An English Village
Author(s): Mary Chamberlain with photographs by Justin Partyka

Suffolk: Full Circle Editions, 2011, 176pp, £25 (hardback).

Sex Before The Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life In England 1918-1963
Author(s): Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 458pp, £19.99, paperback.

No Sand Dunes In Featherstone: Memories Of West Yorkshire Rugby League
Author(s): Robert Light (editor)

London: London League Publications Ltd, 2010, 202pp, £12.95 (paperback).

Scotland's Land Girls: Breeches, Bombers And Backaches
Author(s): Elaine M Edwards

Edinburgh: NMS Enterprises and the European Ethnological Research Centre, 2010, 144pp, £8.99 (paperback).

Our Stories: Migration And Labour In Taiwan
Author(s): Ku Yu-ling

Translated from the Chinese by Agnes Khoo, editors Ding Naifei and Amie Elizabeth Parry Selangor, Malaysia: Strategic Information and Research Development Center, 2011, 337pp, $18 (paperback).

Story Bridges: A Guide To Conducting Intergenerational Oral History Projects
Author(s): Angela Zusman

Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, 163pp, $26.95 (paperback). Volume 1 in Practicing Oral History series. Series Editor: Nancy MacKay, Mills College.