CfP: In Search of Voice: Oral History as Theory, Method, and Source (Event, Kharkiv, 12/2009); DL: April 15, 2009

Prairie Centre for the Ukrainian Heritage, St. Thomas More College / University of Saskatchewan, Canada / The Kowalsky Eastern Ukrainian Institute / Kharkiv V. N. Karazin National University, Ukraine / Ukrainian Oral History Association

Oral History Conference / International Scholarly Symposium
Kharkiv, Ukraine, 11-12 December 2009
Proposals Due: April 15, 2009

Since the 1990s, oral historical research has been gaining much recognition in post-independence Ukraine as well in the Ukrainian studies in general. As a valid field research practice, oral history has become important means of accessing most intimate circuits of knowledge – highlighting private and public lives of individuals or communities, and exploring their unique historical or generational experiences. Yet, while there is much evidence of active empirical research in Ukraine and amongst the Ukrainian communities elsewhere in which oral historical method is utilized, further conceptualization of oral historical research – as an academic discipline with its own theoretical and methodological frameworks – is needed, in order to facilitate analytical interpretation of gathered personal testimonies of historical events and experiences.
The goal of the proposed Symposium is to concentrate on post-interview phase of oral historical research and interpretations of gathered material, that is, on (a) processes of interview archivisation, (b) strategic approaches towards interview analysis, and (c) ways of representing various ‚voices‘ in the interview and its narrative. These stages of oral historical investigation enable oral historical research to become

  • critical scholarship (in which people’s stories are not only presented ‚as is‘ to the audience but as sources of historical information are subject to further critical analysis)
  • self-reflective scholarship (in which much attention is paid to theoretical foundations of critical analysis and in which the researcher is recognizing the effects of his/her own subjective input in the process of interpretation)
  • open to further questioning and validation of research results (by becoming available to interpretations by others, scholars, general audience, and the informants themselves).

Therefore, the organizers propose that the Symposium will focus on methodological and theoretical aspects in the analysis and interpretation of oral historical sources. The two-day conference will begin with plenary sessions by leading specialists in the field of oral history from Canada, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. Papers are invited for three round tables to be held during the second day of the symposium:

  • Institutionalisation of oral historical research. In this round table presentations will deal with the organization of research activities in already existing centers of oral historical research.
  • Oral history as a source. Papers presented in this round table will deal with methods of organizing and preserving oral historical data, archiving the collected material, transcribing interviews as well as with general principles of collection development.
  • Research dissemination. The presentations in this round table will deal with questions of methods and principles of presenting, publishing, and exhibiting oral history projects. The presenters are invited to examine from this perspective their own published interview collections, research monographs, video and audio projects, exhibits and websites they created on the basis of oral historical research.

The prospective presenters are invited to submit their paper proposals (not exceeding 2,000 words, in Ukrainian or English) as well as personal information (full name, electronic address, postal address, telephone numbers, academic credentials, institutional affiliation, scholarly interests) to the email addresses:


Proposal deadline is April 15, 2009, after which the organizers will inform you about the status of your submission. Presenters whose papers will be accepted will submit the final version of their paper by November 12, 2009. The best papers, in which the authors successfully employ both theoretical and empirical material, will be considered for the inclusion in the special post-Symposium collection currently considered by the conference organizers for publication. Meals and accommodations will be provided by the symposium. In some cases, the organizing committee may consider partial or full reimbursement of travel expenses within Ukraine.

For further questions please contact conference organizing committee:

Gelinada Grinchenko,
Associate Professor of the Department of Ukrainian Studies,
Kharkiv V. N. Karazin National University, Ukraine

Natalia Khanenko-Friesen,
Associate Professor of Anthropology
St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, Canada


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