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Volume: 41, Issue: 2 (2013)
‘It did not traumatise me at all’: childhood ‘trauma’ in French oral narratives of wartime bombing
In oral histories of the Allied bombing of France during the Second World War, ‘trauma’ is a word rarely used. Here, I examine the seeming absence of trauma in interviews I recorded with people who lived through the bombing as children. I note that this absence is only apparent, and that close analysis of their words reveals ‘trauma signals’ explicitly and implicitly in the narrative and its structure. Bombing is an objectively traumatising event, but traumatisation depends too on a subjective response which, I suggest, is psychological as well as socially constructed. I conclude by proposing several reasons why trauma is not expressed directly in these narratives, which include French memorial culture in the post-war era, the elision of victimhood and trauma, and interviewees’ subsequent life trajectories as soldiers.
Author(s): Lindsey Dodd
Keywords: children, trauma, war, bombing, narrative

Remembering partition: women, oral histories and the Partition of 1947
This article explores key developments in the way Partition has been represented in the history of India and Pakistan. It more specifically examines how alternative silent voices have been become more visible in the past fifteen years in the historiography of Partition. This shift has been made possible with the use of oral testimonies to document accounts of ordinary people’s experiences of this event in the history of India and Pakistan. The article then goes on to reflect on the author’s experiences of working in South Asia and the use of oral history as a radical and empowering tool in understanding women’s history in Pakistan.
Author(s): Pippa Virdee
Keywords: Women’s history, Partition, migration, Pakistan, India

To Hear with the Collection: the contextualisation and recontextualisation of archived interviews
This article is informed by debates in archival sciences concerning the limits and possibilities of the archive as a site of knowledge production and how the archive and archivists contribute to the shaping of narratives of history. It engages with debates in oral history on the re-use of archived interviews and suggests a methodology for working with and analysing interviews previously collected and archived. The importance of seeing and hearing with the archive and collection is emphasised and an approach suggested to deconstruct the semantic genealogy of oral history collections as a part of our need as (re)users to reflect on our own use and (re)contextualisation of previously collected material. Doing so will allow us not only to understand the voices and narratives of the archived interviews but also to hear the tacit narratives of the archives and collections.
Author(s): Malin Thor Tureby
Keywords: archives, oral history collections, re-using, recontextualisation, archived interviews, narratives

‘Shooting at Shadows’: Private John Field, war stories and why he would not be interviewed
John Field’s Second World War stories and my failed attempts to set-up an interview with him are the central focus. These father-son negotiations elicited unheard war stories and insights about the inter-subjective framing of oral histories outside the typical interview format. I outline his life story and events related to his physical and emotional war injuries to explain why he was unable to consent to an interview. The paper honours a man who portrays himself as a ‘grunt’, despite surviving at the front-line of many historic military battles. I argue that there is intellectual value to oral histories conveyed across generations within the same family and that the subjective framing of an inter-view involves both participants recognizing and misrecognizing each other and what the dialogue itself means.
Author(s): Sean Field
Keywords: War stories, father/son relationships, misrecognition, inter-views

Hardworking women: nostalgia and women’s memories of paid work in Finland in the 1940s
Women worked hard during the Second World War and the immediate post-war period in every sector of Finnish society. This article examines women’s narratives of experience focusing on paid work in the 1940s. Decades later, tiredness, pain and continuous work no longer seem to be such difficult subjects, the article discusses how the women talk positively, even about hard work. The interaction between the grand narrative of the hardworking, equal Finnish woman and the ways women recount their memories is complex. Nostalgic elements have a significant role in the reminiscence of work and also time of war. The article is based on both oral history and written memories stored in Finnish archives, and discusses differences between these two types of material.
Author(s): Kirsi-Maria Hytönen
Keywords: Work, women’s memories, the Second World War, written narratives, nostalgia

Casting a wider net: reflecting on translation in oral history
Debates across disciplines concerning translation provide valuable insights for oral historians who translate or work with translators. In this article I begin by exploring why translation issues should be of concern to all researchers working across languages and not just specialists. I illustrate my points using oral histories I have collected with Polish communities. I then go on to suggest an approach to translation that builds on the importance of examining biographies, including those of translators, to understand lives. I show that it matters who translates oral histories. Whilst there are no final solutions to translation dilemmas, neglecting them has ethical implications.
Author(s): Bogusia Temple
Keywords: Polish, translation, representation, ethics

Our five minutes with Michael Gove
We asked oral historians, educators and students to imagine they had five minutes with Michael Gove to convince him of the value of oral history.

The Public History Reader
Author(s): Hilda Kean and Paul Martin (eds)

Modern Motherhood: Women and Family in England 1945-2000, Angela Davis

Sexual Revolutions in Cuba: Passion, Politics and Memory
Author(s): Carrie Hamilton

The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003
Author(s): Ian Sinclair

The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and The Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City
Author(s): Benjamin Houston

No Going Back: Forgotten Voices from Prudhoe Hospital
Author(s): Tim Keilty and Kellie Woodley