- 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
At least one of the five senses—sound, vision, touch, taste, and smell—is essential to all human experience. Oral history is no exception. The importance of the senses has taken new conceptual approaches to interpreting the nature of experience, first by anthropologists working with different cultures, then later cultural historians, that is, before these ideas became more widespread. This article traces the importance of the five senses in experiencing oral history with special reference to Marcel Proust. It is well known that senses can act as a mnemonic device or a trigger to remembering. The smell and taste of tea and madeleines stimulated Proust's recollection of his past, in one of the most famous of all literary passages about memory. Proust called it the involuntary memory. Oral histories are by nature, articulating experience in speech and language. This article further traces several ways by which one can consider the role of the senses in oral histories.
Paula Hamilton is an adjunct professor of history at the University of Technology Sydney, where she was involved in setting up the public history program, which ran between 1989 and 2005. She is currently the president of Oral History New South Wales and is involved in a number of projects to increase the profile of oral history in that region. Her most recent book is A Cultural History of Sound, Memory and the Senses (edited with Joy Damousi).
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