Agora 2023-2 Oral Histories

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Oral Histories | Agora vol. 58 no. 2 (2023)

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Reflection Ashley Keith Pratt
Editorial Guy Nolch

Original research
What History Teachers Need to Know about ChatGPT
Ian Lyell, Mentone Girls’ Grammar School

Students are already using ChatGPT to write their History assignments. While this can help students who aren't confident writers, it also requires the development of critical thinking skills to identify fabrications in content and sources.

Reflections on the theme
Evidence that the Oral Stories of First Nations Australians May Be Thousands of Years Old
Patrick Nunn, University of the Sunshine Coast and Nick Reid, University of New England

Oral accounts across Australia tell the story of ocean levels rising at the end of the last glacial period, and these can be cross-checked against reconstructions of the coastline receding and land bridges disappearing.
A First Nations Perspective of Written vs Oral History
Dr Aleryk Fricker, Nikeri Institute, Deakin University

Australia has the oldest oral histories in the world, but notions that written documents are more reliable are outdated and diminish opportunities to engage students in History.
How Folklore Informs History
David Waldron, Federation University

Ghost stories are a form of oral folklore that reveal an evolving social memory of historical ordeals that remain unreconciled in the community.
Understanding the Complexities of Oral Histories in the Classroom
Bronwyn Cook, Dandenong High School and Monash University

Oral history’s place in narrative construction can be fraught with difficulties including bias, shifts in memory construction, and the effects of trauma.
Mutual Language Barriers in the Oral Histories of Immigrants
Dr Christopher Cheng, National Library of Australia

Conducting oral history interviews in community languages, such as Chinese, is an underutilised method of recording the diverse experiences of so many people living in Australia.
Survivor Testimony in Holocaust Education
Simon Holloway, Melbourne Holocaust Museum

Survivor testimonies present the Holocaust as a story of individuals rather than just numbers.
Oral Testimonies Fact-Check the Official Narrative of the British Nuclear Tests in Australia
Sue Rabbitt Roff, University of Dundee

There are important discrepancies between oral testimonies transcribed from a Royal Commission into the British nuclear tests and the documentary evidence in Australian and UK national archives.
The Importance of Gaining Trust When Conducting an Oral History
Sandra Gorter, Historian

Trust gained from an oral history project can reap unexpected benefits if a historian needs to question interviewees for a future project.

Teaching ideas
Interviewing Tips from a Journalist
Linda Hunt, University of Tasmania

The principles of journalism can tease out some unexpected details that turn a promising interview into an insightful oral history record.
Creating Oral Historians in the Secondary Classroom
Phillip O’Brien, McKinnon Secondary College

A Year 9 elective focusing on oral history has impressed on students the importance of capturing community stories while developing the skills required to ‘do’ history.
Oral History with Australian War Veterans on the Web
John Moremon, Massey University, New Zealand

A number of online resources enable students to learn about war by hearing recordings made by those who experienced it.
Using Oral History Sources to Explore Anti-Vietnam War Experiences
Alexandra Pierce, Australian Living Peace Museum

Oral interviews available online from the Australian Living Peace Museum give an enduring voice to Australian women who protested against the Vietnam War.
Exploring the National Film and Sound Archive’s Oral History Collection
Alyssa Coursey, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

From our earliest recordings in the 1890s to the latest games and immersive digital productions, the national audiovisual collection captures not only our technical and artistic achievements, but also our stories.
Using Oral History to Teach the American Civil Rights Movement
Christopher L. Hart, Yarra Valley Grammar School

Oral histories provide an informative way to hear new voices describe their experiences during the American Civil Rights Movement.
Viking Sagas as Oral Histories
Diana Millar, Author and former History teacher

Oral Viking sagas are historical records of the adventurous life of the Vikings, whether it was attacking other countries or ‘discovering’ them.

Research and analysis

Reviews available online

Adrift In Melbourne: Seven Walks with Robyn Annear
By Robyn Annear
Reviewed by Cat Jones, Strathmore Secondary College

Fatal Contact: How Epidemics Nearly Wiped Out Australia’s First Peoples
By Peter Dowling
Reviewed by Nigel Page, Anglican Church Grammar School

Pharaohs of the Sun: How Egypt’s Despots and Dreamers Drove the Rise and Fall of Tutankhamun’s Dynasty
By Guy de la Bédoyére
Reviewed by Jack Norris, Lincoln College, University of Oxford

Coastal Guide to Nature and History 3: Western Victoria, Point Lonsdale to the South Australian Border
By Graham Patterson
Reviewed by Jack T. Norris, University of Melbourne

Black, White and Exempt: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lives under Exemption
By Lucinda Aberdeem and Jennifer Jones, eds.
Reviewed by Nigel Page, Anglican Church Grammar School

Votes for Women! The Story of Nellie, Rose and Mary
By Mark Wilson
Reviewed by Holly Bracken, Bayswater Secondary College

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