(Un)told Stories in Central and Eastern Europe. Oral History since 1990

2017 International Conference of the Oral History Institute, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Deadline: 29 October 2017
Date: 24-25 November 2017
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

After the fall of the communist regimes, scholars writing about Central and Eastern Europe progressively embraced oral history. By listening to ordinary people’s voices, they brought subjectivity to the forefront of the research on the recent (post) communist past. From a perspective of “history from bellow”, they strived to reconstitute the past of previously oppressed and marginalized groups, neglected in the mainstream academic and public discourses, while also taking into account the workings of memory - the process of creation and recreation of meaning attributed to past experiences. Since the first oral history projects of the early 1990s, much work has been done on diverse subjects such as: the Holocaust, the memory of the World War II combatants and civilians, the resistance against the totalitarian regimes, political repression, the collectivization of the agriculture, working class biographies, youth movements, and many others. Nevertheless, this very profitable shared creative effort of oral historians and witnesses did not came without its challenges - particular to the time and place in which it was occasioned. Striving to continuously adapt and improve the available methodological toolkit, researchers engaged in debates about memory in post-totalitarian societies, trauma, ethical challenges, and legal issues. The aim of the conference is to provide a transnational perspective in the discussions on how Oral History in Central and Eastern Europe was/is/will be done, by addressing themes such as:

 The Oral History research – specific methodological issues;
 Investigating the Holocaust: memory, trauma, silences;
 Oral histories of conflict and war in the 20th century;
 Displacement narratives of past and present;
 Experiences of political repression;
 Everyday life during socialism and post-socialism;
 Interviewing women – gender issues and Oral History;
 Oral History research on minorities;
 Memory and nostalgia;
 Community based Oral History;
 Oral History and digital archives in a transnational perspective.

For those interested in participating, please send an abstract of no more than 400 words and a 200-word biography to Călin Olariu at the email: calinandreiolariu@gmail.com by 29 October 2017. The accepted speakers will be notified by 5 November 2017. Accommodation and the meals will be covered by the organizers.

Pdf format here.