- The Oxford Handbook of Oral History
- Introduction: The Evolution of Oral History
- The Dynamics of Interviewing
- Those Who Prevailed and Those Who Were Replaced: Interviewing on Both Sides of a Conflict
- Interviewing in Cross-Cultural Settings
- Case Study: Oral History and Democracy: Lessons from Illiterates
- Memory and Remembering in Oral History
- Can Memory Be Collective?
- Case Study: Rome's House of Memory and History: The Politics of Memory and Public Institutions
- How Does One Win a Lost War? Oral History and Political Memories
- Disappointed Remains: Trauma, Testimony, and Reconciliation in Post-apartheid South Africa
- Case Study: Memory Work with Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa
- The Stages of Women's Oral History
- Race and Oral History
- Remembering in Later Life: Generating Individual and Social Change
- The Proust Effect: Oral History and the Senses
- After Action: Oral History and War
- Case Study: “Above all, we need the WITNESS”: The Oral History of Holocaust Survivor
- Case Study: Field Notes on Catastrophe: Reflections on the September 11, 2001, Oral History Memory and Narrative Project
- Doing Video Oral History
- Case Study: Opening Up Memory Space: The Challenges of Audiovisual History
- Achieving the Promise of Oral History in a Digital Age
- Oral History: Media, Message, and Meaning
- Messiah with the Microphone? Oral Historians, Technology, and Sound Archives
- Case Study: Between the Raw and the Cooked in Oral History: Notes from the Kitchen
- The Legal Ramifications of Oral History
- Ethical Challenges in the Oral History of Medicine
- The Archival Imperative: Can Oral History Survive the Funding Crisis in Archival Institutions?
- Case Study: The Southern Oral History Program
- Case Study: What is it That University-Based Oral History Can Do? The Berkeley Experience
- Toward a Public Oral History
- Motivating the Twenty-first-Century Student with Oral History
- Oral History in Universities: From Margins to Mainstream
- Case Study: Engaging Interpretation Through Digital Technologies
- Oral History in the Digital Age
Abstract and Keywords
Memory is not a passive depository of facts, but an active process of creation of meanings. This article focuses on the importance of memory and remembering in oral history. The literature about memory ranges across several academic disciplines and is daunting in size and scope. This article also considers approaches to memory and remembering, which can enhance oral historians' understanding of the interview and its interpretation. It begins by charting the history of oral historians' approaches to memory and then distills current research about memory and remembering—from cultural studies, and narrative theory. It explores the idea of memory research by arguing that remembering is not like playing back a tape or looking at a picture; more like telling a story. The consistency and accuracy of memories is therefore an achievement, not a mechanical production. It also explains ideas of narrative theory, memory paradox and social relationships against the backdrop of oral history.
Alistair Thomson is professor of history at Monash University in Australia and formerly professor of oral history at the University of Sussex in England. His publications include Anzac Memories: Living With the Legend (1994), The Oral History Reader, with Rob Perks (1998 and 2006, with Rob Perks), and Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants, with Jim Hammerton (2005).
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