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Memory Work
Volume: 33, Issue: 2 (2005)
'Muscle Memory': Performing Oral History
Performance as a outcome of oral history production is now acknowledged as a legitimate application and method of dissemination. However, performance is also a research practice allowing oral historians to further interrogate their areas of interest through an exploration of embodied interpretation of memory construction. Muscle Memory is an original solo dance/text work using life histories of dancers as primary research materials. The essay includes excerpts from sample oral histories that not only represent historical figures and actions but also address the meaning of the oral history event by embodying theories of dialogics, memory construction, inter- and intrasubjectivity.
Author(s): Jeff Friedman
Keywords: dance; oral history; choreography; memory

Oral History across Generations: Age, Generational Identity and Oral Testimony
Oral historians are well aware that subjectivity - both our subjects' and our own - shapes the content and interpretation of our work. At the same time, and though oral history often encompasses intergenerational talk, oral historians have yet to develop in-depth theory and method to account for variations in subjective identity arising from differences in age and generational cohort. This essay surveys findings from life-course development research which characterize the (often unconscious) divergences of interpretation and understanding arising within intergenerational communication. Close analyses of oral histories created by college students and elder subjects suggest patterns through which age-related differences reported by life-course development research can drive the focus and content of interviews, and influence interpretation of collected materials.
Author(s): Sally Chandler
Keywords: oral history; methodology; age- generation; cultural scripts

Living in the Lie: The Armenian Intelligentsia in the Soviet Union
This article explores the thought-world of the Armenian intelligentsia living in the Soviet Union from 1920 to 1991 and asks how they perceived their existence in a closed, ideologically charged society which demanded unquestioning conformity to its goals and values. Using Vaclav Havel's essay, The Power of the Powerless', written in 1978, as a reference point, the article examines the basic question: how can a person be both a victim and a supporter of the communist system? Based on life story interviews with four Armenian professionals, born between 1919 and 1930, the article looks at the myths that sustained their lives and how the Soviet system gained legitimacy from its greatest potential critics, the intelligentsia.
Author(s): John W. Mason
Keywords: intelligentsia; ideology; communism; propaganda; Armenia

Flouting the Law: Women and the Hazards of Cleaning Moving Machinery in the Cotton Industry, 1930-1970
In 1937 the cleaning of moving machinery by women and children in factories was banned. Despite this the following years saw its continued wide- spread practice in the cotton industry. We suggest that this was due to the lack of paid time allowed for cleaning, alongside the piecework system, the combination of which resulted in a stark choice for workers between time and money. The culture of risk taking is discussed. The article uses the voices of women mill workers as well as documented source material to illustrate the nature of women's work and the views and concerns of government, of trade union officials and of workers both at the time and, for the latter, in retrospect.
Author(s): Michele Abendstern, Christine Hallett and Lesley Wade
Keywords: occupational health; women; cotton; accidents

Public History
'The Way We Speak': Web-Based Representations of Changing Communities in England
The Way We Speak brings together hundreds of recorded testimonies from two audio collections recorded fifty years apart - the Survey of English Dialects and the Millennium Memory Bank - for extensive public access via the World Wide Web. This article relates the technical and ethical challenges involved in this innovative means of reaching a wider public, and explores the way in which oral history might be reconnected with its essential oracy through new technology.
Author(s): Rob Perks and Jonnie Robinson
Keywords: World Wide Web; Survey of English Dialects; Millennium Memory Bank; accents and dialects; new technology; community history; ethics

Reminiscence and War Trauma: Recalling the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, 1942-1945
The process of reminiscence, the act of recalling one's life story, entails a self-discovery of who one is. Understanding one's past and making sense of it is important for an individual's identity. However, remembering traumatic events or periods of many years ago can interrupt and challenge this process of having reminiscence affirm identity. The Japanese Occupation of Singapore was a traumatic period in the lives of people now over seventy years old. This study traces how individuals interviewed on the Japanese Occupation in Singapore integrated what they experienced and witnessed during the Japanese Occupation into their overall life story. The study derived from an oral history course for trainee teachers who would be using oral history in schools. It seeks to integrate lessons from oral history and reminiscence work.
Author(s): Kevin Blackburn
Keywords: reminiscence work; war; education; Singapore

Walking the Tightrope: Raising Funds for Community Projects
Author(s): Frazer Swift

Why Life Speeds up as You Get Older: How Memory Shapes Our Past
Author(s): Douwe Draaisma, Arnold Pomerans, Erica Pomerans

Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution
Author(s): Laurence Rees

Stasiland: Stories from behind the Berlin Wall
Author(s): Anna Funder

Soldier Talk: The Vietnam War in Oral Narrative
Author(s): Paul Budra, Michael Zeitlin

London Stories: Personal Lives, Public Histories
Author(s): Hilda Kean

Forgotten Voices of the Second World War
Author(s): Max Arthur

Our Hidden Lives: The Everyday Diaries of a Forgotten Britain 1945-1948
Author(s): Simon Garfield

Collect Britain: English Accents and Dialects
Author(s): British Library

Owning Memory: How a Caribbean Community Lost Its Archives and Found Its History
Author(s): Jeannette Allis Bastian

Telling It Ourselves: An Oral History
Author(s): The Black Friendly Group

Singing out: Voices of Portsmouth Rock and Pop Musicians; Rhythm and Romance: An Oral History of Popular Music in York, Volume One
Author(s): Van Wilson

Something in the Air: An Oral History of Popular Music in York, Volume Two
Author(s): Van Wilson

Oral History
Author(s): East Midlands Oral History Archive

Times of Our Lives: The Essential Companion to Writing Your Own Life Story
Author(s): Michael Oke