[SIGCIS-Members] Discipline-Specific Debates in Oral History?

McMillan, William W william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu
Wed May 24 15:38:32 PDT 2017


I believe that the work of Elizabeth Loftus on eyewitness testimony is relevant.  After all, the participants in historical developments doing interviews are giving eyewitness testimony about themselves, other people, behaviors, events, situations, etc.

- Bill

________________________________
From: Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] on behalf of Laine Nooney [laine.nooney at gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 5:45 PM
To: Andre Brock; Al Kossow; members at lists.sigcis.org
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Discipline-Specific Debates in Oral History?

I did mean what I said, but Al's version works too. And even though everyone constantly says things like "oral history sound be taken with a grain of salt" (which is not exactly a position I'd agree with), we've just witnessed a pretty messy display of intellectual territorialism anchored around the dubious notion that remembered experiences are the primary ground from which historical claims should be made. I'm looking for published resources in this space, beyond the anecdotal, to help ground my own claims.

Andre, the points you bring up are potent and relevant to this conversation. If you have other directions for exploration, I'd love to know more.

On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 5:29 PM Andre Brock <brocka at umich.edu<mailto:brocka at umich.edu>> wrote:
No, i believe she meant 'unmediated vessels of their own experience'.  Having been a researcher of technology, society, and culture for nearly 15 years now, i find that white people are rarely reflective about their technological selves.  Instead, they often interpellate beliefs about technoculture to situate their remembered selves as technical subjects, innocent of cultural values.   When histories of marginalized figures in those communities become available, then cultural and social dimensions of technoculture become visible, and if lucky, popular.  see also, "Hidden Figures".

A.

Andre Brock
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
University of Michigan


On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 5:16 PM Al Kossow <aek at bitsavers.org<mailto:aek at bitsavers.org>> wrote:


On 5/24/17 1:41 PM, Laine Nooney wrote:

> For some reason, in the history of computing and games particularly, there can be a lingering attachment to interpreting
> oral history sources as unmediated vessels of their own experience, even though this has been roundly debunked by oral
> history scholarship going back to the mid-1970s.
What do you mean by "unmediated vessels of their own experience" ?

Did you mean "infallible records of their own experience" ?

Having been on the staff of CHM for over ten years now and having done my share of oral histories with people
whom I am very familiar with, remembrances are not exact, nor would anyone expect them to be, especially with
long temporal distances from the events being discussed. Any interview should be taken with a grain of salt and
compared to historical documents and contemporary and historical interviews of others.

Oral histories can also be biased by the research interests and knowledge of the interviewer through his line of
questioning.




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Laine Nooney
www.lainenooney.com<http://www.lainenooney.com/>

DM<http://dm.lmc.gatech.edu/> @ LMC<http://lmc.gatech.edu/> @ GT<http://www.gatech.edu/>
Assistant Professor


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