Article published in:Oral History: The challenges of dialogue
Edited by Marta Kurkowska-Budzan and Krzysztof Zamorski
[Studies in Narrative 10] 2009
► pp. 63–75
Doing gender within oral history
At the focus of the article is how the process of generating oral history contributes to the creation of gendered history. I follow two paths to proof my hypothesis that researchers participate in the creation and reinforcement of gender stereotypes and engendering the subject. First, I analyse life story interviews with female and male survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp, concerning how the interviewees draw genders, and about which gendered topics do wo/men speak (or do not speak). Second, I look at the role of the interviewer: what kind of questions does s/he ask women respectively men, and do gender-specific questions produce otherwise non-mentioned topics or reduce interviewees to their assumed gender roles. The analysis shows that doing gender is a common pattern in oral history interviews and therefore needed to be reflected on.
Keywords: concentration camp survivors, gendered oral history, role of the interviewer
Published online: 22 April 2009