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Call for Papers: Oral History, Place and Environment

Discussion published by Carla Pascoe Leahy on Friday, July 31, 2020

Studies in Oral History (formerly Oral History Australia Journal) has issued a call for papers on the theme oral history, place and environment.

Humans are profoundly emplaced beings. We become attached to places – be they homes, cities or natural environments—so that when we are separated from them, we become homesick. Geographer Yi-Fu Tuan referred to this love of place or sense of place as ‘topophilia’, and it can also be connected to cultural belonging or family identity. Hence our place memories can be deeply felt and intensely personal. Moreover, place memories can retain a special resonance in the mind over time,associated as they are with sensory experiences, emotional associations and social inflections. Place matters, as oral historians have shown across a range of settings.

Place can be specific and localised, but it can also be extrapolated to the physical environments we inhabit more broadly. Increasingly, the fields of oral history and environmental history are finding productive intersections. Oral history offers attention to the ways in which humans remember and narrate their relationships to environments. Environmental history insists upon close attention to the more-than-human world, and the relationships between nature and culture, people and place. As environmental catastrophes with anthropogenic causes become  more common in the twenty-first century, understanding human interrelationships with specific places and the environment is arguably more critical—and more urgent—than ever before.

This special issue of Studies in Oral History invites reflections upon the ways in which oral history can illuminate and expand our understandings of place and environment. We invite broad and varied interpretations of this theme, which may include (but are not limited to):

  • Childhood memories of place
  • Connections to home, town, region or nation
  • Indigenous connections to country
  • Urban place memories
  • Regional and rural place memories
  • Place attachment and migration
  • Family history and meanings of ‘home’
  • Intergenerational knowledge of and attachment to place
  • ‘Natural’ disasters
  • Environmental activism
  • Histories of environmental degradation
  • Environmental regulation
  • Environmental protection and rejuvenation.

To be considered for peer review, articles should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words (excluding references) and are due 30 November 2020. Citations should be in the form of footnotes in Chicago style. Publication of the special issue is anticipated in late 2021.

Any queries about this special issue can be directed to Joint Editors Skye Krichauff  skye.krichauff@adelaide.edu.au and Carla Pascoe Leahy  Carla.pascoeleahy@unimelb.edu.au.

Contributions can be emailed to the Editorial Board Chair Alexandra Dellios:  alexandra.dellios@anu.edu.au.