The Oral History Reader, now in its third edition, is a comprehensive, international anthology combining major, ‘classic’ articles with cutting-edge pieces on the theory, method and use of oral history. Twenty-seven new chapters introduce the most significant developments in oral history in the last decade to bring this invaluable text up to date, with new pieces on emotions and the senses, on crisis oral history, current thinking around traumatic memory, the impact of digital mobile technologies, and how oral history is being used in public contexts, with more international examples to draw in work from North and South America, Britain and Europe, Australasia, Asia and Africa.
Arranged in five thematic sections, each with an introduction by the editors to contextualise the selection and review relevant literature, articles in this collection draw upon diverse oral history experiences to examine issues including:
- Key debates in the development of oral history over the past seventy years
- First hand reflections on interview practice, and issues posed by the interview relationship
- The nature of memory and its significance in oral history
- The practical and ethical issues surrounding the interpretation, presentation and public use of oral testimonies
- how oral history projects contribute to the study of the past and involve the wider community.
- The challenges and contributions of oral history projects committed to advocacy and empowerment
With a revised and updated bibliography and useful contacts list, as well as a dedicated online resources page, this third edition of The Oral History Reader is the perfect tool for those encountering oral history for the first time, as well as for seasoned practitioners.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION TO THIRD EDITION PART I: Critical Developments Introduction: a history of oral history 1 Black history, oral history and genealogy Alex Haley 2 The voice of the past: oral history Paul Thompson 3 Oral history and Hard Times: a review essay Michael Frisch 4 What makes oral history different Alessandro Portelli 5 Politics and praxis in Canadian working-class oral history Joan Sangster 6 ‘Listening in the cold’: the practice of oral history in an Argentine working-class community Daniel James 7 What remains: reflections on crisis oral history Mark Cave 8 Oral history and the senses Paula Hamilton 9 'I just want to click on it to listen': oral history archives, orality and usability Doug Boyd PART II: Interviewing Introduction 10 Interviewing an interviewer Studs Terkel with Tony Parker 11 Interviewing techniques and strategies Valerie Yow 12 Learning to listen: interview techniques and analyses Kathryn Anderson and Dana C. Jack 13 Remembering in groups: negotiating between ‘individual’ and ‘collective’ memories Graham Smith 14 Interviewing the women of Phokeng: consciousness and gender, insider and outsider Belinda Bozzoli 15 Issues in cross-cultural interviewing: Japanese women in England Susan K Burton 16 Reticence in oral history interviews Lenore Layman 17 Toward an ethics of silence? Negotiating off-the-record events and identity in oral history Alexander Freund 18 Imaging family memories: my Mum, her photographs, our memories Janis Wilton 19 Interviewing in business and corporate environments: benefits and challenges Rob Perks PART III: Interpreting memories Introduction 20 Remembering survival: inside a Nazi slave-labour camp Christopher Browning 21 Surviving memory: truth and inaccuracy in Holocaust testimony Mark Roseman 22 Remembering a Vietnam War firefight: changing perspectives over time Fred Allison 23 Anzac Memories: putting popular memory theory into practice in Australia Alistair Thomson 24 Private life in Stalin’s Russia: narratives, memory and oral history Orlando Figes 25 Memory-work in Java: a cautionary tale Ann Laura Stoler, with Karen Strassler 26 Sex, 'silence' and audiotape: listening for female same-sex desire in Cuba Carrie Hamilton 27 ‘That’s not what I said’: interpretative conflict in oral narrative research Katherine Borland 28 Evidence, empathy and ethics: lessons from oral histories of the Klan Kathleen Blee 29 Remembering and reworking emotions: the reanalysis of emotion in an interview Joanna Bornat PART IV: Making histories Introduction 30 Voice, ear and text: words, meaning and transcription Francis Good 31 Editing oral history for publication Linda Shopes 32 The affective power of sound: oral history on radio Siobhán McHugh 33 Foundling Voices: placing oral history at the heart of an oral history exhibition Sarah Lowry and Alison Duke 34 Co-creating our story: making a documentary film Megan Webster and Noelia Gravotta 35 The historical hearing aid: located oral history from the listener's perspective Toby Butler 36 Mapping memories of displacement: oral history, memoryscapes, and mobile methodologies Steven High PART V: Advocacy and empowerment Introduction 37 Imagining communities: memory, loss, and resilience in post-apartheid Cape Town Sean Field 38 Sound, memory and dis/placement: exploring sound, song and performance as oral history in the Southern African borderlands Angela Impey 39 'You hear it in their voice': photographs and cultural consolidation among Inuit youths and elders Carol Payne 40 ‘We know what the problem is’: using video and radio oral history to develop collaborative analysis of homelessness Daniel Kerr 41 Trying to be good: lessons in oral history and performance Alicia J. Rouverol 42 Oral history and new orthodoxies: narrative accounts in the history of learning disability Sheena Rolph and Jan Walmsley 43 The limits of oral history: ethics and methodology amid highly politicized research settings Erin Jessee Select bibliography Useful contacts Index
Robert Perks is Lead Curator of Oral History and Director of National Life Stories at the British Library, Secretary of the UK Oral History Society and an editor of Oral History Journal. He has served as a Council Member of the International Oral History Association.
Alistair Thomson is Professor of History at Monash University. His previous publications include: Anzac Memories: Living With the Legend (1994 and 2013), Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants (2005, with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories: an intimate history of four women across two countries (2011) and Oral History and Photography (2011, with Alexander Freund).
Praise of this edition:
"The Oral History Reader continues to be an invaluable resource for students and teachers of oral history, covering a broad range of themes and providing a comprehensive source of theoretical and practical information for, and from, oral historians around the globe."
Sue Anderson, University of South Australia and President of Oral History Australia
"The first two editions of the Oral History Reader have been a key text for successive generations of oral history students and practitioners. The thoroughly updated third edition will have the same essential status with today's interviewers. Comprehensively covering all aspects of oral history theory and practice, Perks and Thomson ensure that the classics of oral history writing sit side by side with the best of contemporary scholarship."
Andrew Flinn, University College London, UK
"An accessible text suitable for any university-level oral history course, The Oral History Reader condenses oral history's full complexity through a range of articles, some classics in the field, others pushing new boundaries. All ask provocative questions that will engender important discussion and critical debate, and will well prepare students who venture out into the field."
Elise Chenier, Simon Fraser University, Canada
"I would recommend this functional and thought-provoking collection to all who are interested in refreshing their own oral history work as well as to those looking to introduce the basics and the nuances of oral history in a higher-education classroom."
Sarah Milligan, Oral History Review
Praise of previous editions:
'This is the book I've been waiting for: a fat, stimulating and carefully selected and edited collection of significant contributions on oral history theory and practice....I recommend it to anyone embarking on or already immersed in the challenges, delights and stimulation of oral history work' - Oral History
'It provides a rich resource for oral history students, practitioners and researchers in diverse settings. And it offers more traditional historians another powerful perspective on history' - Social History of Medicine
'By far the most comprehensive, valuable collection of articles on the topic in the English language...Their historical sweep, from some of the earliest pieces on interviewing to the recent explorations of the use of new technology, offer something to both the novice and the seasoned practitioner...The remarkable collection is a boon to students and teachers alike' - Sherna Berger Gluck, Oral History Program California State University, Long Beach
'Such a clever and well-informed selection... The Oral History Reader 2006 is an affirmation that second (and subsequent editions) are important... This second edition of The Oral History Reader will certainly remain a prescribed text for my students and essential reading for anyone interested in oral history.' Janis Wilton, Oral History
'Oral history sits at the frontiers of the disciplines and activities that it traverses and as such, does keep pushing boundaries, and that pushing is well represented here.' Janis Wilton, Oral History 2007
The Oral History Reader, in its second edition, is more than a sampling of the field; the organization, introduction and selections policy will influence that way oral history develops in this new century'. Valerie Yow, OUP Journal
'This book has depth as well as breadth... Each section contains articles remarkable for insights and spurs to thinking. I whole-heartedly recommend the Oral History Reader both to the seasoned practitioner ahead of current thinking in the field of oral history and also to the instructor considering adopting this inclusive and stimulating text for newcomers to oral history.' - The Oral History Review