Struggle of Memory Against Forgetting

The ABC’s Hindsight program repeated one of its stories during it’s “Summer” break, which is of special interest to oral historians – “The Struggle of Memory Against Forgetting”.  “Oral history has been part and parcel of the democratisation of history since the Second World War. Through interviews with historians from many different countries, and archival material from seminal oral history projects, we chart the international oral history movement, paying special attention to the role of oral history in Aboriginal historiography, and in post-Apartheid South Africa.”  See the full description of the program, listing the speakers and references and listen to it by clicking here.

OAM for Forbes Oral Historian

Robert Willis has been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for service to the preservation to Australian folklore.  For Mr Willis the OAM comes as an acknowledgement of decades of work travelling around Australia recording oral history. Mr Willis has been recording social and musical history for over 30 years, spending the last 20 years working for the Oral History and Folklore Section of the National Library of Australia. For full story, click here.

Australian Migrant Stories

Rosaline Uaniva Havea migrated to Australia from Tonga at 16 in search of better opportunities.  It was 1975 and her family settled at Hurstville where she attended Kingsgrove High School. Mrs Havea, a former chairwoman of St George Migrant Resource Centre, said it was important to share her story. “These stories can help new migrants learn from other people’s experiences, how we overcame problems and jumped over hurdles to settle more successfully,” she said. “With the migrant experience, there are always difficulties.” This is the thinking behind the latest oral history project from Hurstville City Library, Museum and Gallery which will form the basis of a multimedia exhibition. It will centre on special items that new migrants have kept which could trigger memories of their experiences. For full story, click here.

The Stalking Project

As the USA remembers stalking victims as part of National Stalking Awareness Month, the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History and OutrageUs are launching The Stalking Project, a series of videos and other resources meant to educate and put a spotlight on one of the nation’s most misunderstood areas of partner violence. The Stalking Project hopes to give voice to the often silent victims of stalking and provide tools to help victims fight a crime. Stalking affects 3.4 million adults in the United States each year. For full story, click here.

Value of oral history for “first nations”

Many will remember that in the past, first nations put great stock in what they called oral history in trying to establish their title to what they regarded as their traditional lands.  That was a tough concept for those of Western European culture to get their heads wrapped around because they put greater value on written history. For full story, click here.

United Nations Oral History

A collection of more than 200 interviews covering major events in the history of the United Nations was launched at the world body’s Headquarters in New York yesterday, and will be accessible to the public through a website.  The UN Library’s Oral History Collection consists of interviews conducted over the course of 25 years with former delegates, UN staff members and journalists, all of whom recounted their experiences on major world events. For full story click here and note the site has been added to the OHAA Qld Delicious site.

Guantanamo – An Oral History

January 11, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay—the first of what would be nearly 800 prisoners to cycle through the camp. One hundred and seventy one are still there. Despite President Obama’s pledge, the facility remains open, a prisoner of fear-mongering and politics—and it continues to be a symbol of mistreatment and missteps in the prosecution of the war on terror. Vanity Fair has interviewed dozens of people associated with Guantánamo—lawyers, soldiers, diplomats, former detainees—in order to tell the story in their own words.  Click here for full story.

LGBTQ History discussed at Chicago conference

As part of the American History Association’s recent conference in Chicago, a great deal of discussion was devoted to the emerging interest in LGBTQ history. An early-morning panel discussion confronted many of the problems and the successes with LGBTQ history and its dissemination to the popular masses.  Professor Kevin Murphy, with the University of Minnesota, discussed his recent tribulations when putting together an oral history of the Twin Cities, saying, “We collected over 100 oral histories of the Twin Cities LGBTQ community. Historians, sociologists, geographers and ethnologists tried working together but found it difficult to create a work that would make their work interesting to the masses.” The resulting book, Queer Twin Cities, was not well-received by the media or the intended target audience. Murphy admitted that not even the local Minneapolis gay press reviewed the book after its 2011 release. He said that it was “heartening to see the localized interest in GLBT history” but that, ultimately, the work seemed to alienate readers. Click here for full story.  This site has a number of useful links.


American Civil Rights Oral History Program

Margaret Block, a civil rights activist, spoke at a function last week as part of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, an organization which strives to preserve oral history.  One of the students in the audience pointed out that learning about civil rights from a textbook is a totally different experience than hearing it firsthand.  For full story, click here.

Memories of Iran’s Islamic Revolution

Manager of the oral history department of Islamic Revolution’s literature office said: “Information which is gathered as memories resembles pieces which will finally present a complete picture of the Islamic Revolution. If the matter is considered more seriously, a complete picture of the Revolution’s oral history will be gained.”  For full story click here.