Reclaiming the Personal: Oral History in Post-Socialist Europe

Edited by Natalia Khanenko-Friesen and Gelinada Grinchenko

© 2015

The first twenty-five years of life in post-socialist Europe have seen vast political, economic, and cultural changes, as societies that lived under communist rule struggle with the traumas of the past and the challenges of the future. In this context, oral history has acquired a unique role in understanding the politics of memory and the practice of history.

Drawing on research conducted in Belarus, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, Reclaiming the Personal introduces theory and practice in this vital and distinctive area to a global audience. Focusing on issues such as repressed memories of the Second World War, the economic challenges of late socialism, and the experience of the early post-socialist transition, the essays underscore the political implications of oral history research in post-socialist Europe and highlight how oral history research in the region differs from that being conducted elsewhere.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.0in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP004198

  • PUBLISHED NOV 2015

    From: $53.25

    Regular Price: $71.00

    ISBN 9781442637382
  • PUBLISHED NOV 2015

    From: $53.25

    Regular Price: $71.00

Quick Overview

Reclaiming the Personal underscores the political implications of oral history research in post-socialist Europe and highlights how oral history research in the region differs from that being conducted elsewhere.

Reclaiming the Personal: Oral History in Post-Socialist Europe

Edited by Natalia Khanenko-Friesen and Gelinada Grinchenko

© 2015

The first twenty-five years of life in post-socialist Europe have seen vast political, economic, and cultural changes, as societies that lived under communist rule struggle with the traumas of the past and the challenges of the future. In this context, oral history has acquired a unique role in understanding the politics of memory and the practice of history.

Drawing on research conducted in Belarus, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, Reclaiming the Personal introduces theory and practice in this vital and distinctive area to a global audience. Focusing on issues such as repressed memories of the Second World War, the economic challenges of late socialism, and the experience of the early post-socialist transition, the essays underscore the political implications of oral history research in post-socialist Europe and highlight how oral history research in the region differs from that being conducted elsewhere.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.0in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘The volume is an excellent collection of how different researchers address bias in oral history research… It is an excellent source of qualitative data on "less talked-about" experiences of socialism, and an interesting exposition of case study addressing narrator bias in oral history research.’


    Sara Rzayeva
    Oral History Forum vol 37:2017

    ‘The individual analyses of diverse oral testimonies make a compelling case for the value of individual accounts of the critical moments in 20th century history. These personal perspectives bring to light narratives under-represented in official histories.’


    Marysia H. Galbraith
    Slavic Review Summer 2017

    "The varying level of analytical sophistication makes it easy to imagine using Reclaiming the Personal in a variety of graduate and undergraduate contexts and disciplines. For more advanced scholars, the anthology provides useful glimpses of rarely acknowledged tensions within post-Soviet societies…"


    Kimberly Redding
    Oral History Review

    “Oral history is enjoying a remarkable efflorescence in post-Soviet, post-Communist Eastern Europe. The social and intellectual transformations occurring there provide an exceptional rich context for examining key issues in contemporary oral history.”


    Linda Shopes, past president, US Oral History Association

    Reclaiming the Personal is one of the first volumes to address many of the topics that are missing in the fields of oral history, women’s history, and Soviet and post-Soviet history. The field research of all these scholars is impressive and invaluable.”


    Ali Igmen, Department of History, California State University, Long Beach
  • Author Information

    Natalia Khanenko-Friesen is an associate professor of cultural anthropology and the head of the Department of Religion and Culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.


    Gelinada Grinchenko is a professor in the Department of Ukrainian Studies at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and the head of the Ukrainian Oral History Association.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction. Reclaiming the Personal: Oral History in Post-Socialist Europe (Natalia Khanenko-Friesen and Gelinada Grinchenko)

    PART ONE. From Subjects to Agents of History: Political Implications of Oral Historical Research

    1. Political Changes and Personal Orientations: Germany and the European Remembrance Cultures (Alexander von Plato)

    2. Empowering Files: Secret Police Records and Life Narratives of Former Political Prisoners of the Communist Era in Poland (Anna Witeska-Mlynarczyk)

    3. Memory Silenced and Contested: Oral History of the Finnish Occupation of Soviet Karelia (Alexey Golubev)

    PART TWO. Reclaiming the Personal: Beyond the Collective Vision of History

    4. Restoring the Meaning: “Biographic Work” in Ostarbeiters’ Life Stories (Yelena Rozhdestvenskaya)

    5. “We Are Silent about Ourselves”: Discussing Career and Daily Life with Female Academics in Russia and Belarus (Natalia Pushkareva)

    6. A Commentator or a Character in a Story? The Problem of the Narrator in Oral History (Rozalia Cherepanova)

    PART THREE. Past Differentiated: Revisiting the Second World War and Its Aftermath

    7. Experience and Narrative: Anti-Communist Armed Underground in Poland, 1945–1956 (Marta Kurkowska-Budzan)

    8. Forced Labour in Nazi Germany in the Interviews of Former Child Ostarbeiters (Gelinada Grinchenko)

    PART FOUR. Locating Other Memories of Late Socialism

    9. “Renew the Face of the Land, of This Land!” Catholic Culture and the Crises of Sacralization in People’s Poland (David Curp)

    10. In Search of History’s Other Agents: Oral History of Decollectivization in Ukraine in the 1990s (Natalia Khanenko-Friesen)

    11. “Where Has Everything Gone?” Remembering Perestroika in Belarusian Provinces (Irina Makhovskaya and Irina Romanova)

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