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Autumn 2018
Volume: 46, Issue: 2 (2018)
Articles
'Things you can't talk about': engaging with HIV-positive gay men's survivor narratives
This article uses oral history to explore the challenges HIV-positive gay men continue to face in the aftermath of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, drawing on a selection of original life story interviews conducted with Australian gay men who were diagnosed when HIV was a terminal condition. While the histories focused on narrators' pasts, many used the interviews to discuss continuing issues with the debilitating physical effects of antiretroviral medication. Such topics are usually silenced by embarrassment, lack of an engaged audience and suggestions that, unlike many who were also diagnosed with HIV as a terminal condition, they are fortunate to be alive. The article considers how the author's subjectivity influenced which stories narrators felt comfortable telling and which they suppressed.
Author(s): Cheryl Ware
Keywords: Australia; gay men; HIV; survivor narratives; silence

'Vitoria, brothers, we do not forget!' The public history of the strikes of Vitoria and the Spanish transition to democracy
On 3 March 1976, police of the Franco dictatorship burst violently into a church to prevent a meeting of strikers in Vitoria in the Basque Country. Spraying tear gas inside, they fired indiscriminately on a crowd fleeing in terror, killing five and injuring dozens more. This event occurred in the immediate aftermath of Franco's death and still generates contention around its different interpretations. This article explores its significance and changes in how it has been understood by analysing six life stories of activists who were present, paying particular attention to the public dimension of their memories and their relationship with the transition to democracy. The activists' narratives present a series of meaningful emotions around the hopes and disappointments of anticipated futures which never materialised; they can be analysed in relation to the shifting and subjective temporalities of pasts, presents and futures.
Author(s): David Beorlegui
Keywords: memory; working class; Spanish transition; emotions; temporality

Emotions in protest: unsettling the past in ex-combatants' personal accounts in northern Mozambique
This article focuses on the mutual production of emotions and narratives about the past in the oral history accounts of ex-combatants of the liberation struggle (1964-1974) in northern Mozambique. It draws on life history research among the ageing ex-combatant community in Niassa between 2012 and 2014. It explores the emotional aspects of remembering and meaning making in history-telling, focusing especially on disappointment and anger expressed by many ex-combatants today. More specifically, the article analyses how such negative emotions are negotiated in the ex-combatants' personal accounts and how these negotiations shape the narration of the liberation struggle. I argue that the ex-combatants' emotional talk can be read as a bodily protest against the official historisation of their experiences.
Author(s): Jonna Katto
Keywords: history-telling; bodily protest; emotional talk; ex-combatant life histories; Mozambican liberation struggle

'The man was the fella that went out to work': men, women and work in Cork, Ireland, 1945-1990
This article examines the experiences of workers in post-war Ireland through a study of workers formerly employed in the Cork Harbour area. Arguing for the necessity of studying the experiences of both male and female workers, the article examines how gender affected the working lives and identities of the sample group through oral testimony and documentary evidence. The article proceeds to examine the ideological and cultural context of twentieth-century Ireland, its articulation by narrators and subsequent effects on decisions made in their working lives. The article confirms the need for further comparative research into male and female experiences of labour in twentieth-century Ireland.
Author(s): Liam Cullinane
Keywords: gender; work; Ireland; Cork; industry

'But that was community': the religious foundation at a Catholic higher education institution
Trinity and All Saints Colleges were established in 1966 as a pair of teacher-training colleges for women and men respectively. What has since become Leeds Trinity University (LTU) was funded by the Catholic Education Council and the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, making its Catholic foundation integral. However, over the years these ties have loosened. This article argues, using interviews from a recent fiftieth anniversary oral history project, that LTU's Catholicism has shifted from a public role (inclusive of all who were willing to participate) to a more private role. The article pays particular attention to interviewees' use of the connective 'but', showing how it exposes mixed feelings about the interrelationship of Catholic inclusion and exclusion.
Author(s): Helen Kingstone
Keywords: Catholic belief; higher education institution; university inclusion and exclusion; anniversary

Growing up in 'The Mental': childhood experiences at Cavan and Monaghan Mental Hospital on the Irish border, 1930-1950
This article focuses on interviews with individuals who were the children of live-in staff at Cavan and Monaghan Mental Hospital on the Irish border during the 1930s and 1940s. Neither patients nor staff, these children grew up in a unique context. They were sensitive to the concerns of the adult world that surrounded them. Their narratives provide insights into interactions and prevailing attitudes towards patients, the stigma attached to mental illness and the physical separation of the institution from the town. However, these children also had the freedom to pass through the walls which enclosed the patients and whose lives played out in parallel to their own. As such, their childhood geographies were defined by an inside/outside dichotomy.
Author(s): Fiona Byrne
Keywords: Ireland; history of mental healthcare; stigma; memories of childhood geographies; institutional histories

Graphic narratives from the hills: a wood-carving tradition in Uttarakhand, India
This paper explores the process of converting the recording of an oral history interview into a graphic narrative. The resultant narrative juxtaposes the interview with my own voice within a bilingual graphic story about an artisan or traditional craft-worker. Converting the recorded interview into a two-dimensional story requires decisions about visual style, narrative and analysing the interpreter's role. Various aspects of this process of presenting a life story interview are identified, including the interview's association with its immediate environment and understanding how the craft-worker's aesthetic may influence the final narrative. This discussion suggests a path that the author of a graphic narrative must negotiate when re-presenting oral history interviews as stories for a non-academic audience.
Author(s): Nikhila Nanduri
Keywords: Indian craft; graphic narrative; interpretation; collaboration; representation

Public History
Testimonies in digital environments: comparing and (de-)contextualising interviews with Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch
This article discusses the role of digital technology in oral history. After describing the digital environments for large-scale interview collections created at Freie Universitat Berlin, the article reflects on the impact of digital technology on recording, narrating and interpreting testimony. Then it suggests a comparative approach to recorded interviews as multimodal and multilingual historical sources. Some exemplary analyses of two interviews with Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, recorded in 1998 and 2006, demonstrate the potential of digital research in oral history archives.
Author(s): Cord Pagenstecher
Keywords: interview archives; digital environments; Holocaust; retellings; multimodality; multilinguality

Reviews
Many Voices of Oral History
Author(s): Carlos Santacana and Mercedes Vilanova (eds)

The League of Exotic Dancers: Legends from American Burlesque
Author(s): Kaitlyn Regehr and Matilda Temperley

Struggles for a Past: Irish and Afro-Caribbean Histories in England 1951-2000
Author(s): Kevin Myers

Animal Tales from the Caribbean
Author(s): George List

Burma Railway Medicine: Disease, Death and Survival on the Thai-Burma Railway, 1942-1945
Author(s): Geoff Gill and Meg Parkes

Inside the Clinton White House: An Oral History
Author(s): Russell L Riley