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The Mule Caravans of Western Yunnan

An Oral History of the Muleteers of Zhaozhou

Ma Jianxiong and Ma Cunzhao

Mule caravans established a network across physical, political, and ethnic boundaries that integrated Southwest China, Southeast Asia, and Tibet. This article is a first exploration of this little-known mobile network. Based mainly on oral history, it focuses on the mule caravans based in Zhaozhou in western Yunnan from the late Qing to the 1940s, when the first motor roads were constructed. The investigation assembles horse and mule technologies and trade organization in detail in order to reconstruct the role and standing of transporters and their networks in local society, in the regional setting, in a volatile political environment, and in the face of challenging natural conditions.

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Shahnoza O. Madaeva

This article examines the impact of social and political factors on the spiritual transformation of society. Analysing sources and field research, the study aims to present an objective picture of the spiritual and mental transformation of the Uzbek people based on the oral history method of the 1920-1930s. Using the integration method, the author seeks to explain historic facts through the prism of philosophical reflection. At the same time, the research provides an overview on the processes of self-identification and integration, as well as on the development of state policies, in post-Soviet countries.

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Catherine O'Byrne

The Piper Alpha disaster remains the most significant event in the history of the British North Sea oil industry, yet despite a large range of scholarship on the topic women's experiences of the disaster have not been heard publicly. This article uses oral history testimony to add the private experiences of women who were affected by the disaster to the public experiences of men. The focus of the analysis is on the gendered and political nature of remembrance and the impact that women had on the way that Piper Alpha was commemorated and remembered.

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Secret Years

Hungarian Lesbian Herstory, 1950s–2000s

Anna Borgos

The article explores the personal narratives of middle-aged and elderly Hungarian lesbian women based on oral history interviews. The stories open a window into the Kádár era from a special perspective, allowing us to get a glimpse into the women's self-recognition and coming out process; their different (sexual, professional or maternal) identities, relationships, informal social scenes, and communities; their thinking about gender roles, as well as the available representations of lesbians over the decades. The women also discuss the freedom and greater visibility—as complex as it was—that came after the democratic transition. The article contributes more detailed knowledge about the situation of LGBT people in the region during the state socialist period and around the 1989 regime change.

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Building the Femorabilia Special Collection

Methodologies and Practicalities

Nickianne Moody

and relationships between texts more easily. Acknowledging the Reader: Femorabilia and Active Engagement Tinkler (1995) considered oral history as a valuable source for the study of magazine readership but found that “recollections of popular

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Allison D. Krogstad

Rumam Chamalkan (Nietos de los Kaqchikeles, Grandchildren of the Kaqchikel) is a folkloric dance-drama group from San Jorge La Laguna, Guatemala. Like other Maya initiatives that have come out of the postwar years in Guatemala, this group strives to preserve and maintain the traditions, memory, and identity of the Maya by retelling the stories of their elders and bringing their heritage to new generations and to the world. They endeavor to unite their people around common images and symbols, binding them together, and strengthening their social connectivity. Efforts of the Maya in regard to artistic, literary, and other creative expressions of heritage as well as forays into the political, economic, cultural, linguistic, and environmental systems of the country and world have begun, collectively and cohesively, to make a dent in the wall of inequality, repression, and discrimination that the world has built around the Maya.

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Migrations West to East in the Times of the Ottoman Empire

The Example of a Gypsy/Roma Group in Modern Iran

Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov

This article presents the community of the Romanies/Gypsies called the Zargar, who live in contemporary Iran. For centuries the Zargar had not been aware of the existence of other Gypsies. Only nowadays, with the means of modern telecommunications, including the Internet, have representatives of the Zargar 'discovered' that there are other Roma in the world, and they have begun looking for their place within the international Romani community. Lacking a clear memory of their own past, the Zargar are trying to construct such a history and an extended identity, while establishing contact with their 'kin' in Europe.

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Inventing "women's history"

Female valor, martial queens, and right-wing story-tellers in the Bombay slums

Atreyee Sen

This article focuses on oral traditions created by slum women affiliated with the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena movement in Bombay, and explores the ways in which these invented traditions allowed marginalized women to enter a martial, masculinist "Hindu" history. It shows how poor, rough women used the limited resources available in the slums, especially in the context of rising communal hostilities, to gain a "respectable past." Furthermore, the article analyzes how everyday practices and performances of women's strategic "history-telling" worked to politically mobilize poor women cadres and impacted gender dynamics in contested urban spaces. The invention of traditions of female martiality reflects the potential of right-wing political women to assert a controversial position within the dominantly patriarchal structures of the slums in particular, and the extremist movement in general. The article discusses the mytho-histories told by women to negotiate their present gendered social environment; paradoxically, the martial content of these historical stories also allowed women to nurture a perpetual threat of communal discord and renegotiate their position with male cadres within a violent movement.

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Processes of Remembering and Forgetting

Tundra Nenets' Reminiscences of the 1943 Mandalada Rebellions

Roza Laptander

Each political change in the former USSR and Russian Federation has had different influences on the lives of local populations in different areas. Nenets, like many other indigenous people of the Russian North, were not tied to any political situation. The perception was that they always lived independently in the tundra using their traditional and historical knowledge. In reality, when comparing even the most recent past of the Nenets to the present, many differences and contradictions become apparent in the lives of these northern people. This article discusses the role of censorship in the transformation and performance of historical narratives concerning the development of the relationship between the state and the indigenous tundra people, here Nenets. By distorting historical facts, through exaggeration and mythologizing real-life events, people tried to shield themselves against negative emotions and memories of the past.

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Amanda H. Littauer

distance. Stories of girls developing “crushes” on adult women are ubiquitous in oral histories, autobiographies, and fiction. Gym teachers, school teachers, scout leaders, camp counselors, and nuns appear over and over again as the objects of girls