Reclaiming the Personal: Oral History in Post-Socialist Europe / Edited by Natalia Khanenko-Friesen and Gelinada Grinchenko. – Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. – 344 p.
The first twenty-five years of life in post-socialist Europe have seen vast political, economic, and cultural changes, as societies that lived under communist rule struggle with the traumas of the past and the challenges of the future. In this context, oral history has acquired a unique role in understanding the politics of memory and the practice of history.
Drawing on research conducted in Belarus, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, Reclaiming the Personal introduces theory and practice in this vital and distinctive area to a global audience. Focusing on issues such as repressed memories of the Second World War, the economic challenges of late socialism, and the experience of the early post-socialist transition, the essays underscore the political implications of oral history research in post-socialist Europe and highlight how oral history research in the region differs from that being conducted elsewhere.
C O N T E N T S
Introduction. Reclaiming the Personal: Oral History in Post-Socialist Europe (Natalia Khanenko-Friesen and Gelinada Grinchenko)
PART ONE. From Subjects to Agents of History: Political Implications of Oral Historical Research
1. Political Changes and Personal Orientations: Germany and the European Remembrance Cultures (Alexander von Plato)
2. Empowering Files: Secret Police Records and Life Narratives of Former Political Prisoners of the Communist Era in Poland (Anna Witeska-Mlynarczyk)
3. Memory Silenced and Contested: Oral History of the Finnish Occupation of Soviet Karelia (Alexey Golubev)
PART TWO. Reclaiming the Personal: Beyond the Collective Vision of History
4. Restoring the Meaning: “Biographic Work” in Ostarbeiters’ Life Stories (Yelena Rozhdestvenskaya)
5. “We Are Silent about Ourselves”: Discussing Career and Daily Life with Female Academics in Russia and Belarus (Natalia Pushkareva)
6. A Commentator or a Character in a Story? The Problem of the Narrator in Oral History (Rozalia Cherepanova)
PART THREE. Past Differentiated: Revisiting the Second World War and Its Aftermath
7. Experience and Narrative: Anti-Communist Armed Underground in Poland, 1945–1956 (Marta Kurkowska-Budzan)
8. Forced Labour in Nazi Germany in the Interviews of Former Child Ostarbeiters (Gelinada Grinchenko)
PART FOUR. Locating Other Memories of Late Socialism
9. “Renew the Face of the Land, of This Land!” Catholic Culture and the Crises of Sacralization in People’s Poland (David Curp)
10. In Search of History’s Other Agents: Oral History of Decollectivization in Ukraine in the 1990s (Natalia Khanenko-Friesen)
11. “Where Has Everything Gone?” Remembering Perestroika in Belarusian Provinces (Irina Makhovskaya and Irina Romanova)
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Natalia Khanenko-Friesen is an associate professor of cultural anthropology and the head of the Department of Religion and Culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.
Gelinada Grinchenko is a professor in the Department of Ukrainian Studies at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and the head of the Ukrainian Oral History Association.