Issues in Human Rights Testimonies

Oral History Association

Oral History Association
"Since 1966, the Oral History Association has served as the principal membership organization for people committed to the value of oral history. OHA engages with policy makers, educators, and others to help foster best practices and encourage support for oral history and oral historians. With an international membership, OHA serves a broad and diverse audience including teachers, students, community historians, archivists, librarians, and filmmakers. In addition to fostering communication among its members, the OHA encourages standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, dissemination and uses of oral testimony. To guide and advise those concerned with oral documentation, the OHA has established a set of goals, guidelines, and evaluation standards for oral history interviews. See Principles and Best Practices The association also recognizes outstanding achievement in oral history through an awards program. Awards are given in the categories of oral history publications, nonprint media productions, teaching, and projects."
http://www.oralhistory.org/

Listening for a Change: Oral Testimony and Community Development

Listening for a Change: Oral Testimony and Community Development
""The aid world has done too much talking and not enough listening. "Participation" may be the fashionable concept in development circles, but how true is it in practice? The voices of ordinary people, the supposed beneficiaries, are still rarely heard." "Listening for a Change is a guide to collecting, interpreting and using the oral testimony of the people on whose actions and commitment development ultimately depends. The aim is to help development workers improve their listening and learning skills, and value the knowledge, experience, culture and priorities of local people." "The book briefly traces the revival of the oral history movement in the North, highlighting its relevance to development practice. With case-studies from all over the world, it explores the many different ways oral testimony can be used, by agencies and by communities themselves, to contribute to development and relief projects. It gives practical guidelines on methods of collection, as well as on recording, transcription and translation, and information on relevant organisations and publications. Finally, the limitations and ambiguities of oral evidence are explored, as well as ethical issues." "Packed with information pulled together for the first time, Listening for a Change challenges everyone in the aid world to listen to the awkwardly individual voices of the people at the heart of development. It is written for anyone working with communities in the collection and dissemination of first-hand testimony, but above all for policy makers, practitioners and students of social and economic development."
https://www.amazon.com/Listening-Change-Testimony-Community-Development/dp/0865713049

The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS

The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS
"As an epidemiologist researching AIDS, Elizabeth Pisani has been involved with international efforts to halt the disease for fourteen years. With swashbuckling wit, fierce honesty, and more than a little political incorrectness, she dishes on herself and her colleagues as they try to prod reluctant governments to fund HIV prevention for the people who need it most: drug injectors, gay men, sex workers, and johns. With verve and clarity, Pisani shows the general reader how her profession really works; how easy it is to draw wrong conclusions from “objective” data; and, shockingly, how much money is spent so very badly."
http://www.wisdomofwhores.com/

The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism

The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism
"How do a few Third World political movements become global causes célèbres, while most remain isolated? This book rejects dominant views that needy groups readily gain help from selfless nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Instead, they face a Darwinian struggle for scarce resources where support goes to the savviest, not the neediest. Examining Mexico's Zapatista rebels and Nigeria's Ogoni ethnic group, the book draws critical conclusions about social movements, NGOs, and "global civil society."
https://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Rebellion-Insurgents-International-Contentious/dp/0521607868

Translating Human Rights Testimonies by Christi A. Merrill

"Only a few pages into Ajay Navariya’s harrowing 2004 short story “Subcontinent,” the narrator recalls a traumatic scene from his childhood in which he watches helplessly as a gang of upper-caste men beat up his father within an inch of his life. The attackers were incensed that an “untouchable” (or “achut” in the Hindi) would have the audacity to return to the village in a clean new kurta, rupees in his pocket, greeting friends comfortably, and holding his head high.

In our translation of the story, Laura Brueck and I have decided to maintain a range of registers analogous to what we see in the Hindi, but have chosen not to offer bald explanations for details that an insider might recognize as part of the daily discourse of discrimination against Dalits.
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/i/iij/11645653.0001.204/--translating-human-rights-testimonies?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Human Rights, Testimony, and Transnational Publicity by Meg McLagan

In order to help create the transnational public sphere they envisioned, international human rights activists deployed a number of strategies, among them the production and circulation of testimonies by victims of rights abuses. Testimonies are first person narratives in which an individual's account of bodily suffering at the hands of oppressive governments or other agents come to stand for the oppression of a group. Rooted in dual Christian notions of witnessing and the body as the vehicle of suffering, testimony is a deeply persuasive cultural form that animates and moves western sensibilities. Although testimony has long played an important part in rights advocacy (dating back to abolitionism), its use grew in the 1990s and testimonies proliferated in multiple genres and arenas, from written texts to film and video documentaries to 'live' performances/face-to-face encounters in activist meetings, NGO forums and governmental hearings. My essay explores this phenomenon, focusing on the role of several mediated forms of testimony, e.g. 'cine testimonials' (testimony on film/video) and testimony online, in activist attempts to construct a transnational public."

https://www.academia.edu/14963996/Human_Rights_Testimony_and_Transnational_Publicity

SPECIAL ISSUE: HUMAN RIGHTS AND ORAL HISTORY: STORIES OF SURVIVAL, HEALING, REDEMPTION, AND ACCOUNTABILITY

SPECIAL ISSUE: HUMAN RIGHTS AND ORAL HISTORY: STORIES OF SURVIVAL, HEALING, REDEMPTION, AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The Oral History Forum d'histoire orale is proud to announce the launch of its new special issue, "Human Rights and Oral History: Stories of survival, healing, redemption, and accountability," guest edited by Michael Kilburn. The following articles and reviews are online: 
Marica Šapro-Ficović: "Libraries Under Siege in Croatia 1991-1995"
Musiwaro Ndakaripa: "Ethnicity, narrative, and the 1980s violence in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces of Zimbabwe"
Joannie Jean: "Représentations de soi et positionnement social chez les membres de l’association familles de détenus-disparus à Santiago"
Joseph Ben Kaifala, JD: "Transitional Justice in Sierra Leone: Oral History, Human Rights, and Post-Conflict Reconciliation"
Sally Carlton: "Rebuilding lives: Interviewing refugee background people in Christchurch three years after the earthquakes"
Katherine Fobear: "Telling Our Truths: Oral History, Social Justice, and Queer Refugees"
Hannah Loney: "‘This is Me’: Exploring Narrative and Trauma within Women’s Memories of the Indonesian Occupation of Timor-Leste (1975-1999)"
Susan M. Glisson: "‘Everything Old is New Again: Storytelling and Dialogue as Tools for Community Change in Mississippi"
http://www.oralhistorycentre.ca/special-issue-human-rights-and-oral-history-stories-survival-healing-redemption-and-accountability

Witnessing Australian Stories: History, Testimony, and Memory in Contemporary Culture

Witnessing Australian Stories: History, Testimony, and Memory in Contemporary Culture
"This book is about how Australians have responded to stories about suffering and injustice in Australia, presented in a range of public media, including literature, history, films, and television. Those who have responded are both ordinary and prominent Australians—politicians, writers, and scholars. All have sought to come to terms with Australia’s history by responding empathetically to stories of its marginalized citizens.

Drawing upon international scholarship on collective memory, public history, testimony, and witnessing, this book represents a cultural history of contemporary Australia. It examines the forms of witnessing that dominated Australian public culture at the turn of the millennium. Since the late 1980s, witnessing has developed in Australia in response to the increasingly audible voices of indigenous peoples, migrants, and more recently, asylum seekers. As these voices became public, they posed a challenge not only to scholars and politicians, but also, most importantly, to ordinary citizens.

When former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered his historic apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples in February 2008, he performed an act of collective witnessing that affirmed the testimony and experiences of Aboriginal Australians. The phenomenon of witnessing became crucial, not only to the recognition and reparation of past injustices, but to efforts to create a more cosmopolitan Australia in the present. This is a vital addition to Transaction’s critically acclaimed Memory and Narrative series."
http://www.transactionpub.com/title/Witnessing-Australian-Stories-978-1-4128-5158-9.html

Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims

Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims
"Telling Stories to Change the World is a powerful collection of essays about community-based and interest-based projects where storytelling is used as a strategy for speaking out for justice. Contributors from locations across the globe―including Uganda, Darfur, China, Afghanistan, South Africa, New Orleans, and Chicago―describe grassroots projects in which communities use narrative as a way of exploring what a more just society might look like and what civic engagement means. These compelling accounts of resistance, hope, and vision showcase the power of the storytelling form to generate critique and collective action. Together, these projects demonstrate the contemporary power of stories to stimulate engagement, active citizenship, the pride of identity, and the humility of human connectedness."
https://www.amazon.com/Telling-Stories-Change-World-Narrative/dp/0415960800

The self as capital in the narrative economy: how biographical testimonies move activism in the Global South.

"his article analyses and theorises the practice of biographical storytelling of HIV-positive AIDS activists in South Africa. Combining research in illness narratives, studies of emotions in social activism and analysis of global health institutions in Africa, I explore how biographical self-narrations are deployed to facilitate access to resources and knowledge and thus acquire material and symbolic value. I illustrate my argument through the analysis of the case of an AIDS activist who became a professional biographical storyteller. Based on the analysis which I claim to represent wider dynamics in human-rights-based health activism in the Global South, I propose the concept of narrative economies by which I mean the set of exchange relationships within which biographical self-narrations circulate and produce social value for individuals and organisations."
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9566.12381/abstract

Comfort Women in Human Rights Discourse: Fetishized Testimonies, Small Museums, and the Politics of Thin Description

"The article focuses on comfort women who were women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II. It mentions that the recorded testimony of comfort woman survivor Lola Fidencia David will be part of the oral history collection at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR). It notes the activism movement held in Korea regarding military sexual slavery."
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/278741051_Comfort_Women_in_Human_Rights_Discourse_Fetishized_Testimonies_Small_Museums_and_the_Politics_of_Thin_Description

Towards a pedagogy of listening: teaching and learning from life stories of human rights violations

"In response to the task of designing curriculum that helps youth engage thoughtfully with digital stories of human rights violations, the authors articulate the central tenets of a pedagogy of listening that draws upon elements of oral history, concepts of witnessing and testimony, the work on listening of Dewey, Freire and Rinaldi and the philosophy of listening. These tenets are explored in relation to the five curricular units for secondary schools that they produced as part of a large oral history project that documents the life stories of Montrealers displaced by war, genocide and other human rights violation. The pedagogy of listening aims to: promote more democratic relations, build a listening community and foster close and attentive listening, develop an ethics of listening, support critical reflexive practice and movement towards social action, explore the multitude of listenings, explore listening as curation and foster students’ historical imaginations."
http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1021748

"You Only Have Your Word:" Rape and Testimony

"The definition of rape in international law is in flux, as the controversy over the differences between a "mechanical" and a "conceptual" definition has shown. This article explores the intersection of three contradictory premises about the narrative testimony of rape that arises from the problem of defining the crime. It explores this intersection through the frames of legal theory, visual theory, and narrative texts, drawing its examples from the Rwandan genocide, where the correlation of narrative testimony to the production of images shaped a rich vein of philosophical inquiry into the nature of witnessing"
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/507781/pdf

Human Rights and Narrated Lives The Ethics of Recognition by Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith

Human Rights and Narrated Lives  The Ethics of Recognition by Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith
"Personal narratives have become one of the most potent vehicles for advancing human rights claims across the world. These two contemporary domains, personal narrative and human rights, literature and international politics, are commonly understood to operate on separate planes. This study however, examines the ways these intersecting realms unfold and are enfolded in one another in ways both productive of and problematic for the achievement of social justice. Human Rights and Narrated Lives explores what happens when autobiographical narratives are produced, received, and circulated in the field of human rights. It asks how personal narratives emerge in local settings; how international rights discourse enables and constrains individual and collective subjectivities in narration; how personal narratives circulate and take on new meanings in new contexts; and how and under what conditions they feed into, affect, and are affected by the reorganizations of politics in the post cold war, postcolonial, globalizing human rights contexts. To explore these intersections, the authors attend the production, circulation, reception, and affective currents of stories in action across local, national, transnational, and global arenas. They do so by looking at five case studies: in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation processes in South Africa; the National Inquiry into the Forced Removal of Indigenous Children from their Families in Australia; activism on behalf of former 'comfort women' from South/East Asia; U.S. prison activism; and democratic reforms in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China."
http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781403964946

Remembering Mass Violence: Oral History, New Media, and Performance Edited by Steven High, Edward Little, and Thi Ry Duong

Remembering Mass Violence: Oral History, New Media, and Performance Edited by Steven High, Edward Little, and Thi Ry Duong
"Remembering Mass Violence breaks new ground in oral history, new media, and performance studies by exploring what is at stake when we attempt to represent war, genocide, and other violations of human rights in a variety of creative works. A model of community-university collaboration, it includes contributions from scholars in a wide range of disciplines, survivors of mass violence, and performers and artists who have created works based on these events. This anthology is global in focus, with essays on Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. At its core is a productive tension between public and private memory, a dialogue between autobiography and biography, and between individual experience and societal transformation. Remembering Mass Violence will appeal to oral historians, digital practitioners and performance-based artists around the world, as well researchers and activists involved in human rights research, migration studies, and genocide studies."
http://www.utppublishing.com/Remembering-Mass-Violence-Oral-History-New-Media-and-Performance.html