THE AREA OF ORAL HISTORIES OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVE. What we are and what we do in Oral History.

The National Archive of the Dominican Republic (Archivo General de la Nación ) has created a new department of Special Collections , which has responsibility for audiovisual materials, photographs , maps, and oral history. This is the first time that oral history has been included in the National Archive.

The use of oral history has become widespread in the Dominican Republic , particularly at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) under the division of University Advancement ( which includes folkloric research , etc.). Oral history has also been an important research tool for Dr. Roberto Casa, a historian and current Director General of the General National Archive.

The archive’s oral history component is staffed by professionals from the social sciences, including anthropologists, historians, and sociologists.  They are attempting to reconstruct a number of historical events through a series of interviewing projects that collect the narratives of the various participants.  These projects span both everyday life and major events in the country’s recent history, particularly the 1965 Revolution.

Revolution of April 1965: From this armed conflict emerged the heroic figure of Colonel Francisco Alberto Caamaño Ceño who demanded the return to constitutional rule, namely the government of Juan Bosch and the constitution. This occurred after seven months of military rule, following the coup d’etat of September 25, 1963. We have interviewed over 200 witnesses to this event .  Their testimonies have been recorded mostly in audio but some in video format.

While the conflict ended with a US invasion, patriotic demonstrations centered in the nation’s capital and to a lesser extent in a number of interior towns. We traveled to these places recording testimonies that will comprise a new archive of voices providing sources for researchers and the general public .  We are working to revive the Dominican archival traditions and to include the voices and lives of key individuals in the country , as well as the oral traditions of the people. We are also documenting aspects of identity and belief systems among different groups within the country.

We work with everyday life events, culture, music, rhythms, songs and dances with distinctive characteristics, taking into account local and oral historians and trying to establish networks of institutional linkages.

At present we are developing projects to recreate the nation’s main struggles for freedom: resistance to U.S. invasions, and resistance to the tyranny of the Trujillo regime, among others.

We intend to address other social movements. We are working with Spanish refugees and we support such activities as the national and regional book fairs. We are helping to extend the General National Archive, and are preparing exhibits for different locality across the country.

Our efforts have focused especially on older people and women, trying to include those who historically have not been listened to, and to reclaim their role in historical events.

Jesus Diaz
Area Manager of the Oral History of General National Archive



BIOS. ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR BIOGRAPHIEFORSCHUNG, ORAL HISTORY UND LEBENSVERLAUFSANALYSEN. 2007, VOL. 20:  Festchrift für Alexander von Plato,edited by Almut Leh and Lutz Niethammer, 261pp.

It is a noble tradition of the German university tradition to celebrate the 65th birthday of retiring professors with a book containing articles honoring their scholarly achievements, edited by their former students, from contributions of distinguished colleagues. How should the leftist academics, members of the “Great Generation” in Europe, who were inspired by 1968 and learned from its illusions and promises, employ this tradition to honor one of the key figures in European history writing, Alexander von Plato? Over the past thirty years, his ten monographs and numerous other publications and films have created an unorthodox and passionate “Gesamt History” of 20th century German history writing.  His legacy is connected with a deep and emotional involvement in the political debates on “History.”

The editors of the special issue of Bios : The Journal of Biography Research, Oral History, Life Course Analyses, Almut Leh and Lutz Niethammer, took up this challenge. They invited 33 authors whose work is or was part of a dialogue with the works of von Plato.  They offer their contributions along with brief reflections on their common ego histoire. The book can therefore be read as a collective portrait of a generation whose members strongly believe that historical study is related to everyday life.  They want to know and influence how history is constructed through remembering.

There is one overarching theme of these articles: the intellectual and political engagement and dialogue with the works of von Plato. The 33 scholars form the vanguard of those using alternative methods in historical research.  They are founders of the use of oral history as a method and a scientific discipline. Their works appear in many different forms. Some of the essays were already published or were conference papers, very often for conferences organized by von Plato . Some are work in progress and some are written as personal reflections, such as the Anette Leo’s ironical insights about how oral historians  work in the field.  The authors come mostly from European countries. But von Plato was also a key figure in organizing the International Oral History Association, so there are contributors from elsewhere: Irina Scherbakova, with a reprint of her phenomenal article on “Gulag in Memory,” represents the former Soviet Bloc, together with other oral historians from Brazil, Australia, and South Africa.

The table of contents is organized according to the major methodological problems of oral history. Its sections explore theoretical consequences of changing methods in history writing, relationships between interviews and memory, traumatic remembering, relationships and networks, experience, and the connection between biographical research with history. This special edition informs us about the possibilities of reconsidering the writing of history from a more critical and responsible point of view.

The greatest challenge facing the editors was not to make the book sound like an obituary. Von Plato is alive and well, as demonstrated by the collection of cheerful and emotional emails praising him, which the editors have included in the introduction. The book represents a very colorful picture of the meaningful decades spent by a generation of historians to change history writing as it was known by our fathers and mothers.  It is a task for us to determine: How do we go from here?  Not an easy task to accomplish.

Andrea Peto, Central European University
[email protected]



PROFESSOR MERCEDES VILANOVA: A CONTRACORRIENTE. Several authors, UB Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, 2008.

“Defend the right of living memory; to stand up for the memory of today rather than that of yesterday, while not protecting the memory of those politicians who tend to dream of revenge. Nor should you dwell excessively on the paper memory stored in the archives and which is but a mere trace of a past to be rebuilt, but not idolatrized, justified or condemned. Seek out untrodden paths which will open open up when remembrance with lucidity and generosity, to convert the memory of Allied … imagination. “

With these words, Mercedes-Vilanova, the first president of the IOHA, expressed her vision as an historian on the day of her retirement. The Faculty of Geography and History at the University of Barcelona put together this book as a collective tribute to her impressive career.




The Oxford Oral History Series plans to showcase the best of current work in oral history and aims to advance methodological and theoretical understandings of the field. It will be international and interdisciplinary and will include volumes for academic, professional, and trade (general) audiences.  It welcomes proposals for a variety of projects, including:

Subject-based collections of edited oral histories

Methodological works that advance the practice, application, and analysis of oral history

Theoretical works and thematic collections of interpretive essays that advance key concepts and frameworks in the field

Narrative histories and oral history-based works from other disciplines that draw heavily on oral histories while simultaneously illuminating the method or theory of oral history.

Please send a short e-mail query—short Word attachments are acceptable; no PDFs, please—or a request for more detailed submission guidelines to any of the following:

Series Editors                                                           
J. Todd Moye   Director, Oral History Program                                  
University of North Texas [email protected]
Kathryn Nasstrom,  Associate Professor of History                          
University of San Francisco, [email protected]
Rob Perks, Curator of Oral History.                                       
The British Library Sound Archive [email protected]




The British Library is collecting the life stories of 100 of the UK’s most influential living authors, so that their personal experiences and insights are preserved and made permanently available to current and future generations. The British Library holds thousands of books written by living authors, and collections of personal papers, but remarkably few recorded in-depth interviews with writers reflecting on their lives as a whole.

Each in-depth interview will document not only the whole life story of each person, but also key shifts in authorship over the last century: relationships between writers, agents, editors and publishers; the rise of the conglomerates; the role of professional and trade associations; and changing readership trends. How has the editorial process changed? How have creative freedoms fared over the past fifty years? Do authors make a living: what impact has the ending of the Net Book Agreement had; and what are the financial dynamics between authors and publishers? How have authors influenced the trade through campaigns like Public Lending Right and against VAT on books? How active have writers been in the public sphere, through high profile book prizes, but also through international activities such as PEN and the British Council?

Interviews will be recorded using the latest digital flashcard technology, enabling digital playback copies to be made available to researchers within the British Library via the Sound Archive’s onsite SoundServer listening service. Full descriptions of the content will be accessible to remote users via an online catalogue, increasing awareness of the collection and enabling rapid searching. The Authors’ Lives oral histories will be incorporated into the British Library’s Learning site, linked to books and manuscripts held by the Library.

Audio extracts and some full interviews will, subject to interviewee consent, be made available via the Library’s website, and interview material will feature in the Library’s exhibitions (onsite and virtual) and printed publications, and be packaged for both popular audio CD publications. The collection is also expected to prove a popular resource for broadcasters’. The project will take three years, at a total cost of just under £124,000.

Rob Perks:
[email protected]




There is very little published work that examines how oral history, as an established form for actively making memories, both reflects and shapes collective or public memory.  Oral History and Public Memories provides a means of bringing the practice of oral history into the public domain by connecting it with contemporary ideas about how memory works as a social or cultural phenomenon.  To the editors and contributors of this book, oral history is not an archival activity, but a social practice that connects the past and present to action. For example, in connecting memory, loss and resilience in post-Apartheid Cape Town, or public memory, gender and national identity in post-war Kosovo. From queer Latinos in San Francisco to Black WWII ex-GIs and veterans reunions in the late 20th century, this anthology looks at the broader social and cultural processes at work in remembrance as well as representations of self.


The Palgrave/Macmillan Studies in Oral History series, edited by Linda Shopes and Bruce M. Stave, aspires to make available in book form the best of the vast store of interviews that have accumulated in archives around the world, and to advance methodological sophistication and theoretical thinking about oral history. The series has published a dozen books, the most recent being The Unquiet Nisei: An Oral History of the Life of Sue Kunitomi Embrey by Diana Meyers Bahr. Volumes cover a variety of topics and geographic regions including the Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China, the legacy of the “Dirty War” in Argentina, and Alessandro Portelli’s The Order Has Been Carried Out: History, Memory, and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome. That book won the U.S. Oral History Association book award as did Kim Lacy Rogers’, Life and Death in the Delta: African American Narratives of Violence, Resistance and Social Change, last year’s winner. Several more volumes are in the works, and four are expected to be published by the end of this year.  These deal with Iraq’s historic Jewish community, dissidents and supporters of the current Iraq War, African American survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and women in New York City’s craft unions.  For further information, see the web site .

The editors invite proposals for manuscripts in English that employ edited oral history interviews to explore a wide variety of topics and themes in all areas of history. While they expect that interviews will dominate the text, they seek work that places interviews in broad historical context and engages issues of historical memory and narrative construction. Fresh approaches to the use and analysis of oral history, as well as to the organization of text, are encouraged. They welcome work based on interviews conducted within and outside of the United States, as well as cross-cultural and comparative work. Books in the series are typically aimed at general readers, students, and scholars and range from 90,000-120,000 words. For a proposal template and other information, contact the editors at: [email protected] and [email protected] . Normally, potential authors are requested to submit a completed Proposal Outline, one or two sample chapters, and/or contextualized and edited interviews that will give a good sense of how the intended book will read.




Rosario, Argentina.  Year IV, Number 43 

La historia oral en el aula. Proyecto ARCA: “La persistencia del silencio tras la dictadura” [Oral history in the classroom. The ARCA Project: “The persistence of silence after the dictatorship”] by Laura Benadiba. Department of History. Faculty of Arts, University of Buenos Aires, and Thomas Biosca i Esteve. The Institute Morell of Tarragona

1919: el temor burgués  a una conspiración inexistente [1919: Bourgeois fear in the FACE of a non-existent conspiracy], Fernando Cesaretti y Florencia Pagni.  School of History. Faculty of Arts of the National University of Rosario.

El caso del Cerro de San Luis de Potosí, México. 1º parte [The case of Cerro de San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Part I], Jose Hernandez Vargas Guadeloupe. University of San Luis de Potosi and University of Bekerley.

Como concebimos los hechos históricos. 3º parte,  [How we conceive historical facts. Part III], Maximiliano Rodriguez. School of History. Faculty of Arts of the National University of Rosario.

Los libros de texto y la enseñanza de la historia reciente [Textbooks and the teaching of recent history] Teresa Eggers-Brass. Department of History. Faculty of Arts at the University of Buenos Aires

Libros, gestos, posiciones y actitudes. La función socio-educativa de la lectura [Books, gestures, positions and attitudes. The role of socio-educational reading], Mark Milman. School of History. Faculty of Arts of the National University of Rosario.

La participación popular en los proyectos de investigación y desarrollo [Popular participation in research and development projects], Mario Di Bella. Department of Philosophy. Faculty of Arts, University of Buenos Aires.

Acerca de Kirchner, el P.J. y el peronismo [About Kirchner, P.J. and Peronism],  Daniel Arzarun. Faculty of Political Science, University of Buenos Aires.

Los comienzos del “chamuyo” [The beginnings of “Chamu”], Mili Chiessa. Department of Communication Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires.

La Hora de los Pueblos (1968). 3º parte, [The time of the peoples (1968)] Damián Descalzo. Faculty of Law, University of Buenos Aires.

Reseña bibliográfica:

“Cuando el tiempo era otro. Una historia de infancia en la pampa gringa” de Gladys Onega [a review of Gladis Anega, When the weather was different: childhood memories of the gringa pampas], Margarita Pierini. Departament of Social Sciences, Nacional University of Quilmes.

Joan Manuel Serrat: “The montonera”

We invite authors to write with absolute freedom of opinion and choice of topic , although we suggest that for reasons of space and design, the article should not exceed 30,000 words. This restriction is not meant to be exclusive , however.  If an article is longer, it might be published in several editions.

When submitting an article, we ask that you send (as an attachment) your personal photo and an e-mail address where readers can send comments concerning your notes.  We also ask for a brief biography of your academic or professional activities, to appear at the end of the article as a note about the author. All submissions and supporting material are to be sent to [email protected].




For its upcoming editions, Eras is interested in submissions relating to oral history.  Eras is a fully refereed on-line journal edited and produced by postgraduate students from the School of Historical Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia which is intended as an international forum for current or recently completed Masters and PhD students to publish original research, comment and reviews in any field covered by the Monash SHS’s teaching and research. It seeks papers from postgraduate students working in any of these fields: History, Archaeology and Ancient History, Religion and Theology and Jewish Civilization. Papers are also strongly encouraged from students in other disciplines, such as Cultural Studies, Indigenous Studies, Gender Studies, Philosophy, Sociology and Politics.

Papers should be up to 5,000 words in length and full submission guidelines are available on the journal website:  Please forward all submissions via email to: [email protected] by June 1, 2008 for the 2008 edition; submissions received after June 1 will be considered for 2009.

L.Grant & M. Katz, Editors-in-Chief
[email protected]




Oral History Forum is the journal of the Canadian Oral History Association. It serves as a meeting place for scholars, archivists, librarians, community activists and others who use oral history in their explorations of the past and present.  For its inaugural issue as an electronic journal, Oral History Forum invites the submission of scholarly articles for peer review as well as reviews, discussions, artwork, annotated transcripts, work-in-progress and project reports, short experience reports, reviews of digital technologies, sound or aural essays and features, interviews (including roundtables) with oral history practitioners, and other contributions in the field of oral history and oral tradition. The deadline for submission is June 1, and the online launch of this volume is planned for September 2008.

To learn more about the Canadian Oral History Association, visit There, you may download past issues of the Oral History Forum in pdf-format (volumes 1-25). To learn more about the new electronic Oral History Forum visit Click on ‘About’: ‘Focus and Scope’ and ‘Author Guidelines’ further information about the diversity of contributions we encourage.

Please submit queries and contributions to [email protected].



Nº38 ATRAVESAR EL ESPEJO [Crossing the mirror]

Play and rehearsal

Sólo un testigo. [Only one witness]. Carlo Ginzburg

Recorridos de la práctica [Snapshots of the profession]. Angelo Torre

Representación de la práctica, práctica de la representación.

Roger ChartierMichel de Certeau y los límites de la representación histórica. Wim Weymans

Conversar con Chartier [A Chat with Chartier] (Barcelona, 5 de junio de 2007).

Function of History

Hayden White, nacionalismo traumático y la función pública de la historia [Traumatic nationalism and the public sector’s role in history]. A. Dirk Moses

Una respuesta a Dirk Moses [A reply to Dirk Moses]. Hayden White

Tiempos «blandos» y «duros» [Easy times and hard times]. Gaspar Mairal

Oral History

Homenaje a Alexander von Plato [Tribute to Alexander von Plato]

Memoria e historia: ¿cómo superar el conflicto? [Memory and history: how to overcome the conflict?] Philippe Philippe Joutard

El inconsciente en acción [The unconscious in action]. Dori Laub

Archivos de historia oral independientes en Italia. [Independent oral history archives in Italy] Alessandro Portelli

Contrastar métodos de recogida e interpretación de datos [Contrasting methods for collecting and interpreting data].Lutz Niethammer

Lo «indecible»: los casos Grass y Waldheim [The “unspeakable’”  the cases of Grass and Waldheim]. Gerhard Botz

Historia, Antropología y Fuentes Orales
Sta. Llúcia, 1. 08002 Barcelona
E-mail: [email protected]



ORAL HISTORY, Vol. 36, no1, Spring 2008


“Before My Time”: Recreating Cornwall’s Past Through Ancestral Memory, Garrt Tregidga and Kayleigh Milden

Sound, Memory and Dis/Placement; Exploring Sound, Song and Performance as Oral History in the Southern African Borderslands, Angela Impey

A Reappraisal of Insider-Outsider Interviewing: The Tristan Da Cunha Oral History Project, Ann Day

Cross-Lingual Oral History Interviewing in China: Confronting the Methodological Challenges, Norton Wheeler

Working With Death: An Oral History of Funeral Directing in Late-Twentieth Century Scotland, Elaine McFarland

Manufacturing Memories: Commercial, Team and Individual Narratives in Poultry Production, Polly Russell

Oral History and Community in Britain: Personal and Critical Reflections on Twenty-Five Years of Continuity and Change, Alistair Thomson


All the articles are abstracted on the Oral History Society website: