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This is the blog site for students and staff of the Voice of the Public: Oral History in Public History course. The course is a core element in the MA in Public History at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The reflective posts are part of the course work for Voice of the Public and are intended to stimulate debate and critical thinking.

3 Comments on “About”

  1. Amanda Franquet says:

    I would like to interview a guineaman from Gloucester County, Virginia. They have a curious history and a very unique way of speaking. I have Interacted with members of the community throughout my life, but only casually. I want to learn more about their history and traditions, and share this with a wider audience.The guineamen started leaving their homes as the fishing industry has dried up in the past 20 or so years. Their way of life is dying and those who lived it as well. This makes preserving their voices and stories especially important to public oral history.

  2. Alex Sessa says:

    I have several topics I would be interested in further exploring, particularly dealing with older members of the LGBTQ community, who lived through a time of oppression, in which homosexuality was illegal. Given the recent triumphs of LGBTQ activists – including, but not limited to, the growth of same-sex marriage around the world, and increasing public support for gay, lesbian, and transgender persons, I feel that this is a particularly poignant and topical issue. The further development of understanding the past experiences of members of this community, who lived during a less inclusive era, will better allow the public to understand the complexities of this issue, and the growth of our society in recent years.

    Much like other minorities (and marginalised groups, like women and various religious organisations across Europe), the LGBTQ community has endured tremendous hardship in an attempt to gain public recognition and approval. Not long ago, engaging in homosexual acts may have resulted in shame and possible arrest, yet in recent decades activists have worked tirelessly to break down barriers to improve the lives of the members of this community. I am eager to hear the perspectives of someone older who belongs to this group, who has likewise
    seen and experienced the development of progress. Additionally, a string of successful LGBTQ films are currently being released, which makes this a hot-button issue: consider films like THE DANISH GIRL and CAROL.

    For many, many years, people had to hide their sexualities, and often married individuals of the opposite sex, enduring long, hard, and unhappy marriages for the sake of convention and pleasing society. There have even been instances of persons disguising themselves to fit in as a member of the opposite sex, sometimes so that they could forge a same-sex union, or because they were transgender during a time in which this condition was unacceptable. This issue is relatable to history for several reasons – first, LGBTQ members remains in some ways marginalised, and are often excluded from the wider discussion of history, and secondly, their recent acceptant into mainstream culture is in its infancy, and their remains a growing desire to see this issue further normalised, and its history unveiled. By interviewing older members of the LGBTQ community who have experienced oppression, segregation, depression, and possible suicidal tendencies as a result of their lifelong struggle for acceptance, I believe that the history of this community will become more accessible to the general public and members within the community. In turn, this will hopefully create a new public dialogue about LGBTQ members and their struggles, and allow their historical background to be further understood.

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