Michael Corrigan

I think this week’s readings only reinforce many of the things we have been discussing the entire semester. The articles present many problems that oral histories can run in to. I can’t remember which article it was from a few weeks ago that talked about how a person’s oral history represents more than just a personal story but rather it is an example of collective history and how that person fit into history. The reading also talked about ways to interpret an interview. I love seeing the many ways in which we, as oral historians, can read and use an oral history to learn about more than just one person. V I think one of the most important things I’ve learned from this reading and over the entire semester is that while memory is important, forgetfulness or lapses in memory are just as important. We as historians have to examine our interviews for broader implications provided by our narrators. That is to say that we have to look at not only what they said, but how they said it or what they did not say. Every week we learn more about how Oral History provides alternative glimpses and strategies to learning about history and this week was no exception. This week’s reading was largely theoretical but I found it to be just as useful as the other concrete readings over the past few weeks. I believe that theory, more specifically the theories for studying history, reveal how imprecise history can be. But does that make it bad or completely useless?

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