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date: 21 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the catastrophe of September 11, 2001; its memory sustained through oral history and captured in narratives. The purpose of this article is twofold: to explore the natural capacity of oral history, an ethical practice, for supporting the active process of historical remembrance even in its most nascent stages; and to use the September 11, 2001, Oral History Narrative and Memory Project as a means of defining a possible approach to documenting historical trauma through oral history. Psychologists who study the impact of massive catastrophic events, from genocide and war to natural catastrophes, define this range of work as “trauma mental health.” Oral history has demonstrated its value in recording traumatic and catastrophic events, whether natural or human-made. This article further traces the case studies conducted weeks after the attacks. One records trauma in the immediate context and the other records the aftermath of trauma followed by a reflection on the same.

Keywords: memory, narratives, ethical practice, historical trauma, natural catastrophes

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