iohanet the International Oral History Association

IOHA: The International oral history association

As you can see from this newsletter, the IOHA News remains very active. A number of events have taken place over the past semester and many others will happen soon. Both North and South America continue to be the most active in organizing events related to oral history. Indeed, during 2011 and 2012 a variety of meetings and conferences took place in Mexico, Argentina and the United States. This is probably a sign of oral history’s development and maturity that our discipline has reached in those regions. In whatever case, we wish to congratulate New Zealand for its national conference and Brazil for having organized the First Health Oral History Seminar.

At the same time, we believe it is important to highlight the work, projects and research that is being carried in different parts of the world. We particularly wish to draw attention to the organization and of a new oral history network in Ireland and the international conference that will be held in Kilkenny in September 2011, which will coincide with celebrations of the city’s foundation. Equally, we wish to welcome the new oral history centre in Uzbekistan and the project that they have undertaken to reconstruct the history of the twentieth century through oral history.

The aim of this conference is to contribute to the creation of an interdisciplinary community of researchers working in the fields of oral history, memory studies and the biographical approach in the social sciences. Researchers from different disciplines use life stories to explore human lived experiences, the multiple interconnections between the individual and society, the ways in which subjectivities are constructed and determined by social and historical factors.

Oral history and the biographical approach provide excellent tools to explore how social agents face abrupt social change and ruptures in their daily lives, related to political or economic crisis, (forced) migration, the deregularization of labour relations and the deconstruction of the welfare state. Oral history has been also linked to the democratization of history and to the emergence of subjects that had been excluded from the narratives of history.

To what extent has oral history been recognized as a legitimate field of historical knowledge?

In this conference we want to take stock of the developments in these fields in Greece over the last ten years and to link them to the theoretical and methodological debates going on elsewhere in the world.

A central question which concerns us is whether the institutional recognition of oral history, as well as the “memory boom” of the 1990s and the use of digital media in mass communications have moved oral history away from its initial objectives: to contribute to a critical approach to social phenomena and to connect historical and social research with the communities we study. In the period of crisis we are living through, this question acquires new meanings. With the participation of leading scholars in the field, the conference aims to create a space where old and new generations can meet and exchange their knowledge. The title of the conference “bridging generations” thus concerns both the narrative interview itself, where knowledge and meanings are transmitted from one generation to the next, and the encounter between two generations of researchers involved with biographical research. A second goal of the conference is to create a Greek Oral History Association as a new national section of the International Oral History Association.

From these pages we also would like to thank all of those who have helped make this edition possible. We especially wish to thank Anna Green and Lleana Gadea Rivas for their reviews of recently published books. Unquestionably, this dynamic helps us keep up to date and in shape.

If you have an oral history meeting planned, have attended an interesting conference, are beginning or finishing a noteworthy project, developing an archive or have found an interesting monograph or website please let us know. We depend on you to make to make this an effective medium for sharing information about oral history around the world.

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