Tomorrow's Historian

Rachel's Adventures in Historical Research

Month: February 2015

Oral History

Oral History: Using Voice as Evidence in the Digital Age

In the beginning…

International Oral History and Technology

This project began as an attempt to answer the question of whether digital tools could or could not be used to conduct international oral history interviews to replace historians having to travel in order to conduct interviews in person.  Instead, this project evolved into an exploration of how digital tools have changed the products of the research in the field of oral history.

Oral historians, unlike many traditional historians, have been quick to adapt to changes in technology and have adopted new technologies in the conducting of interviews.  Newer technologies have generally made the process of conducting interviews much simpler; therefore, like Microsoft Word or Zotero for the traditional historian, these tools are rapidly embraced by oral historians.  So the use of paper and pen evolved to the use of a tape recorder, which evolved to the use of the video camera, which evolved to the use of digital recorders, and so on.

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Brasov (aka Stalin City)

brasovAh, Brasov…today I consider the medieval city of Brasov to be my home away from home.  It is a beautiful, quaint, strikingly Eastern European city nestled in the valley of Tampa mountain.  Apart from it’s charm and history, the people of Brasov are incredibly warm and welcoming and the cafe culture in the city center is easy to get used to.

The crest of "crown city"

The crest of “Crown City”

Brasov holds onto many symbols, medieval and modern.  For instance the crest of Brasov – an ode to the German name for Brasov, Kronstadt or “Crown City.”  But during our first couple of weeks living in Brasov, the modern symbol that I could not escape was the one for which the city is best known: the enormous Hollywood-esque sign of the town name that is perched at the crest of Tampa mountain and is visible from virtually every part of town.  I learned quickly that the locals of Brasov generally hold negative feelings toward the Brasov sign.  One of my professors had to install black-out curtains in her apartment in order to block out the bright white light that the sign projects at night.  And travel blogs often refer to the sign as “kitschy,” a term often used to describe low-brow cultural icons.

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