Oral History at the Crossroads

9780774826839: Hardback
Release Date: 5th May 2014

9780774826846: Paperback
Release Date: 15th January 2015

9780774826853: PDF
Release Date: 1st May 2014

9780774826860: EPUB
Release Date: 1st May 2014

104 b&w photographs, 23 illustrations

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 456

Series Shared: Oral and Public History

UBC Press

Oral History at the Crossroads

Sharing Life Stories of Survival and Displacement

Drawing on a collaborative research project, this book provides an alternative model for how oral and public histories should be recorded and curated.
Hardback / £85.00
Paperback / £33.00
PDF / £32.00
EPUB / £32.00

Over the span of seven years, hundreds of people displaced by mass violence told their stories to the Montreal Life Stories project. From the outset, the project’s organizers sought to develop an alternative model to traditional oral history practice, one where community members “shared authority” as equal partners. Together, they challenged long-held beliefs about how oral stories should be collected and shared. As a sustained reflection on this large-scale experiment in collaborative research, Oral History at the Crossroads has methodological and ethical implications for scholars. It also provides a contemporary model for curating public history, pushing the field in new directions.


Part 1: Mutual Sightings

1 Interviewing Survivors

2 A Flower in the River

3 Bearing Witness

4 Regenerative Possibilities

5 Remembering Haiti

6 Smile through the Tears

Part 2: Curating Life Stories

7 Sharing Stories

8 Walking the City

9 Oral History and Performance

10 Blurred Boundaries






Steven High is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Oral History and the co-director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University. He was principal investigator of the Montreal Life Stories project.

This book represents an important intervention in the field of oral history. It provides significant insights from a major oral history project that will have lasting influence on both refugee studies in Canada and oral history programming internationally.

Alexander Freund, editor of Beyond the Nation? Immigrants’ Local Lives in Transnational Cultures and co-editor of Oral History and Photography

In this beautifully written book, Steven High describes and interprets evocative examples of what happens after the interview, as he explores the regenerative possibilities for displaced people to create new livelihoods and communities in the aftermath of mass violence.

Sean Field, author of Oral History, Community and Displacement: Imagining Memories in Post-Apartheid South Africa

CLIO Prize for Quebec, Canadian Historical Association - 2015