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Spring 2018
Volume: 46, Issue: 1 (2018)
Articles
What can oral historians learn from psychotherapists?
This article presents the questions oral historians confront concerning the similarities and differences between their own discipline and psychoanalysis. Use of the in-depth interview characterises both; however, the interviewers seek different kinds of information. Historians seek an understanding of a culture, a way of living in a specific time, changes which affect lives. They do not interview so they can improve the lives of their narrators, but to improve an understanding of past lives. The goal of psychoanalysts is to enable their patients to live now without inner pain, to cope with psychological problems. Still, for oral historians, there is often an emotional outcome of the in-depth oral history interview whether the interviewer seeks that outcome or not.
Author(s): Valerie Yow
Keywords: intersubjectivity; psychotherapy; analyst; analysand; transference; counter-transference

Families after the Holocaust: between the archives and oral history
After the Holocaust, parents and children who had survived the genocide faced significant obstacles to family reunification. Many children with at least one surviving parent were never reclaimed by their families, while others who returned to live with their parents confronted a fractured social unit. This article draws on both archival sources and oral history to explore family reunification after the Holocaust, arguing that while archival documents can illustrate the mechanics of reunification, oral history allows us to confront its long-term legacies, revealing the extent to which divided loyalties, traumatic experiences and desperate material conditions broke families apart, even where parents and children managed against the odds to survive.
Author(s): Rebecca Clifford
Keywords: Holocaust; families; children; survivors; reunification

The life electric: oral history and composure in the electricity supply industry
This article uses interviews with engineers and managers recorded as part of 'An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry', a National Life Stories project at the British Library, to explore the social history of the electricity supply industry in Britain. In particular, it explores the links between individual life stories and the history of the industry itself, how careers were developed, changing industry cultures, public service, privatisation and the use of oral history to understand large organisations. Overall, it presents a history of the industry from the period after its nationalisation in the 1940s through to its privatisation in the 1990s, from the point of view of those within it.
Author(s): Thomas Lean
Keywords: engineers; managers; electricity supply industry; privatisation; organisational history

An oral history approach to post-conflict identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina
This article, which arises from lengthy fieldwork conducted in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), utilises the oral history method to evaluate the changing nature of identity in a post-conflict setting. This appraisal is to be conducted with the wider goal of assessing the utility of oral history in understanding post-conflict identity. The personal narratives obtained from the fieldwork are placed into an opposing frame of reference related to the effects of conflict. The reference frames were two differing accounts of the Bosnian civil war, the first supplied by a Bosniak and the other by a Croat. These accounts will be used to exemplify the importance of oral history as a research tool for studying contested and complex social realities.
Author(s): Farhaan Wali
Keywords: post-conflict identity; oral history; Bosnia and Herzegovina; collective identity; ethnic conflict

Never too big, never too much: the Order of Osiris and the LGBTQ community in Mobile, Alabama
An openly gay ball would have been unimaginable for the founders of Mobile, Alabama's Mardi Gras mystic societies in the 1830s. Yet, around 1,600 people attend the Osiris Ball every year. Founded in 1981, the Order of Osiris (OOO) is Mobile's oldest surviving gay carnival organisation. Using interviews to reveal the people involved in and the historical context of the creation of the OOO, this article investigates its role in the development of a shared identity and a visible community for LGBTQ Mobilians. It argues that by appropriating the signs, structure and symbols of the mainstream culture, an underground, marginalised sub-culture gained visibility and relative acceptance. Yet, that process of legitimisation eventually led to embracing the status quo.
Author(s): Isabel Machado
Keywords: Mardi Gras; Alabama, USA; LGBTQ; Order of Osiris

'Have you ever been on the bridge? It has a heartbeat': oral histories of San Francisco's Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, 1933-1989
This article explores the San Francisco's Oakland Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge as elements of the cultural memory of Northern California. Focusing on newly-recorded oral history interviews at the University of California, Berkeley, this article argues that the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge evolved as cultural symbols in the decades following their opening. Both bridges emerged as symbols for the region, but each with distinctive and different meanings, including humanity's triumph over nature, memorialisation of returning troops from war, disaster and site of tragedy.
Author(s): Samuel J Redman
Keywords: San Francisco, USA; Bay Bridge; Golden Gate Bridge; cultural memory; suicide; bridge construction; Oakland, California

Women tell their stories: learning to listen to First Nation voices
This article considers the interconnectedness of the past, present and future lives of Nuu'Chah'Nulth First Nation women on Vancouver Island.1 Oral history has the potential and power to celebrate their lives, to show them not as passive victims of colonialism, but as advocates for their culture and other women. It focuses on an important element of oral history- the art of listening. Listening became integral to knowledge and understanding of their traditions, culture and history. They have rarely spoken about their lives to a white interviewer, so telling their stories in their own words was paramount. In the process, many unexpected views and opinions were shared.
Author(s): Jacky Moore
Keywords: women; listening; oral tradition; indigenous culture; British Columbia

Public History
Finding poetry in the sound archives: creatively repurposing oral histories for re-presentation and engagement
Finding a format in which to present oral history material to different audiences can be challenging. Through the experiences of a practice-led PhD in creative writing, this article considers how creative practitioners can develop digital re-presentations of oral texts to explore research ideas. It suggests that these digital outputs can also be used to give oral history archives new currency and to engage audiences beyond academia with these collections, which often lie hidden away in repositories and rarely listened to.
Author(s): Helen Foster
Keywords: creative writing; poetry; oral history archives; digital; interpretation; audience engagement

Reviews
The Voice of the Past: Oral History
Author(s): Paul Thompson with Joanna Bornat

Velvet Revolutions: An Oral History of Czech Society
Author(s): Miroslav Vanek and Pavel Mücke

When Sonia met Boris: An Oral History of Jewish Life Under Stalin
Author(s): Anna Shternshis

A Mind to Stay: White Plantation, Black Homeland
Author(s): Sydney Nathans

Artists' Lives: Speaking of The Kasmin Gallery, exhibition at Tate Britain; Memories of the Spanish Civil War: Conflict and Community in Rural Spain
Author(s): Ruth Sanz Sabido