Oral history, visual ethnography, and the interactive documentary

Authored by: Kathleen M. Ryan , David Staton

The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367185824
eBook ISBN: 9780429196997
Adobe ISBN:


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“Tell me a story,” is the plea of the oral historian to the narrator. Those stories are powerful, at times becoming what Walter Benjamin (1969) called mémoire involuntaire: memories lodged in our brains despite our efforts to the contrary. Oral historians, as Donna Harraway (1988) notes, must come “to terms (that) the agency of the ‘objects’ studied is the only way to avoid gross error and false knowledge” (pp. 592–593).

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