Women’s history and oral history: developments and debates

Bornat, Joanna and Diamond, Hanna (2007). Women’s history and oral history: developments and debates. Women's History Review, 16(1) pp. 19–39.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09612020601049652

URL: http://www.journalsonline.tandf.co.uk/content/1747...


Women’s history and oral history grew up together. Each developed from a commitment to reveal and reverse, to challenge and to contest what were perceived to be dominant discourses framed by gender and class. In this article the relationship between these two endeavours is explored. Beginning with the 1960s the influence of feminist approaches to research and representation are given due consideration and acknowledgement. In reviewing changes over the last four decades the dilemma for women of being both subject and object in research is explored. The tension in this dilemma is discussed in relation to developments in relation to subjectivity in the interview, the process of doing oral history, the developments in public history and remembering in late life. The article concludes with an overview of new work in the field and concedes that, whatever issues remain unresolved, oral history continues to interest and attract researchers working in a wide range of disciplines with the promise of yet more theorised and gendered explorations of the past in years to come.

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