"Oral History in (post)socialist societies"
3-5 November 2005, Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany
Oral History provides a valuable and unique contribution to the
investigation of societies in the former socialist states - before and
after the collapse of communism. Although many researchers now work with
biographical interviews (e.g. on Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic
Republic, Hungary, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia), there has
been only limited international exchange on the methods, aims and
results of Oral History concerning the analysis of socialist societies
in Europe until 1989/91.
The conference offers a platform for the discussion of methods, content
and research strategies and aims to consolidate (first) results.
The following issues will be focussed:
- What can we learn from Oral History interviews about the functioning
of socialist societies (with reference to social relations, networks,
gender relations, family structures, alternative cultures, etc.)?
- What do interviews reveal about the non-functioning and final
implosion of socialist societies?
- How are collective and individual identities constructed in narrative
interviews (beyond the changes due to political transition)?
- Which forms of biographical communication and narrative tradition
characteristic in socialist societies? What role did national or
regional narrative cultures play? Can they be distinguished from
'socialist' biographical patterns of communication?
- What role did - and do - oral narratives play in the memory culture of
socialist and post-socialist societies? In how far has 'transition'
altered collective memory?
- Which methods do we use in conducting, evaluating and interpreting
interviews? What can we conclude from recent results in neurology,
memory research, discourse analysis and other fields, in relation to
Oral History interviews?
- How can Eastern European History contribute to the further development
of methods relevant to Oral History?
The conference programme will consist of four to five sections, each
with three to four speakers and one discussant. The conference languages
will be German and English. Mutual translation will be provided. Since
we would like to allow plenty of time for discussion, the presentations
should not extend beyond 30 minutes.
The conference will be held in the Haus Wiesneck conference centre in
the beautiful surroundings of Freiburg/Breisgau, not far from the
Himmelreich train station. The tranquil location will allow us to fully
concentrate on our work, and also offers the possibility for outdoor
relaxation. There will be enough time after the conference for a short
trip to Freiburg.
Please send a paper proposal (maximum one page) no later than 25 March
Presentations should clarify the theoretical basis of research as well
as the methodological approach. Both should be included in the proposal.
The papers will be published in a conference volume.
Dr. Julia Obertreis
Lehrstuhl fЭr Neuere und OsteuropДische Geschichte
Tel.: +49-(0)761 / 203-3441
Fax: +49-(0)761 / 203-9190
Dr. des. Anke Stephan
Abteilung fЭr Geschichte Ost- und SЭdosteuropas
Tel.: +49-(0)89 / 2180-1486
Fax: +49-(0)89 / 2180-5656
Please send your paper proposal to:
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