Reconstruct memories with Oral History


The memories of contemporary witnesses have become an important part of historical educational research. Constanze Schliwa, research assistant at the Faculty of Education, uses the "oral history" method in her dissertation to reconstruct how people grew up in GDR children's homes.

"Oral history" means that contemporary witnesses report on their experiences. The aim is not necessarily to receive concrete and verifiable information about past events and occurrences, but to find out how the interviewees remember them, describe them and relate them to them.

Constanze Schliwa from the department “General, Intercultural and International Comparative Education and Educational Psychology” uses this method with people who lived in so-called normal homes in the former GDR. “I ask you to tell me your life story in as much detail as possible” - with such requests you should have your say and your individual life stories should be made accessible to a broader public.

In the research project of the month , Schliwa presents an example of the interpretation of an interview excerpt and shows how "oral history" can be used to develop new sources for historical educational research.

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