Words and Silences, the journal of the International Oral History Association, is seeking contributions for the 2004 issue on any of the following themes:
Healing the past, rewriting the future: oral history as legal evidence
Oral history and oral tradition have been the foundation for not only rewriting history but for actually struggling against the consequences of past wrongs and injustices. Peoples who in the past were conquered and colonized today are utilizing oral tradition to reclaim land, language rights and cultural autonomy. Survivors from persecution by military or oppressive regimes today bring their underground memories to confront official history and demand both social recognition and legal punishment of those responsible for violating human rights. And perhaps in less dramatic ways common people expect respect for their memories and traditions. Oral history research, and at times oral historians themselves, enter the arena of the law as memory and oral tradition are among the evidence used to demand restitution, whether it be of land or dignity. We are calling for medium-length articles (2500 words) that report on research and reflect upon the force of divided and divisive memories, the confrontation of customary and written law, of subordinated memories and hegemonic history, just to mention some of the issues involved in such undertakings.
The most frustrating interview
W&S published an issue devoted to oral historians’ recollections of their most memorable interview (vol. 3, no. 4, 1999). That issue was both amusing and enlightening as to what oral historians value in an interview. In the same spirit but with a twist we are now asking for short (500 words) and thoughtful contributions about the most frustrating interview. The issue of frustrating experiences comes up often in shop talk or in teaching oral history but seldom finds it way into writings on method or techniques. We would like contributors to recall frustrating interviews, or moments during interviews, select the worst and then describe it and reflect on questions such as how you handled the feeling, how did it affect the interview, what if anything did you learn from it. There will certainly be other questions to address as you reflect on your most frustrating interview.
Collections and archives
This section is devoted to discussion of practical problems encountered in the creation and preservation of oral sources. Please send in short pieces (500 words) and share your accumulated wisdom in the field.
Contributions may be written in English or Spanish (or both, which would save us translation work). In short pieces please include references, if necessary, in the text (author, title, place, publisher and date) and not as footnotes. In longer pieces place footnotes at the end, as text.
Gerardo Necoechea Gracia
Dirección de Estudios Históricos
Tlalpan, México D. F., 14000
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