Case Study: Opening Up Memory Space: The Challenges of Audiovisual History

Albert Lichtblau

in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195339550
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940578 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Case Study: Opening Up Memory Space: The Challenges of Audiovisual History

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The emergence of oral history was connected with a technical development—namely the possibility of recording human voices. The recording techniques developed rapidly. This article discusses the challenges faced while recording audiovisual history. In the 1980s expensive filmmaking began to be replaced by more affordable video formats, which took the technical development of oral history to a new audiovisual level. The paradigm shift generated by oral history in which historians began to generate their own primary sources announced another transformation of the way historians worked: taking leave of the written form and communicating scholarly results in audiovisual form. This article seeks to describe what the integration of the visual aspect means for oral historians in generating documents of remembrance. It elaborates on a few concrete examples of how integrating the camera's eye has shaped audiovisual history. A discussion on negotiation of remembrance followed by new methods and issues of videohistory concludes this article.

Keywords: oral history; technical development; audiovisual history; video formats; negotiation; remembrance

Article.  3393 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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