Oral History Workshop

Thursday, 22/12/2022
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Prof. Jacqueline Adams, University of California
The Challenges of Conducting Oral History Interviews with Chilean Refugees in Europe and Women Enduring State Violence and Impoverishment in Santiago’s Shantytowns during the Pinochet Dictatorship
Moderator – Dr. Margalit Bejarano

This lecture discusses conducting an array of challenges associated with conducting and analyzing oral history interviews with refugees; shantytown artists who had experienced persecution and impoverishment; and additional members of a transnational network of solidarity and resistance to the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.
The issues discussed include interviewing persons made vulnerable by their disclosures of past activities; a willingness to help the interviewee based on her nationality, accompanied by certain expectations; fear of the interviewer and interview; interviewees’ long-term guardedness due to uncertainty of the interviewer’s political stance; anger directed at the interviewer on the assumption that she was a hostile leftist; approaching delicate topics about which a pro-dictatorship interviewee would be defensive; deliberately distorted accounts by interviewees wanting to influence a foreign interviewer; competing claims of having created a dissident art form (the arpilleras); and incomprehension and suspicion from family members in Chile.

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