In this article I throw off my designated subject position as the “narrator” and step into the critical historian’s role of interpreter to interrogate my experience of being interviewed for a large-scale lesbian and gay oral history project. From this position I came to recognize that, despite having volunteered for the project, I was wary of the “gay-life framework” I felt had been imposed on the story of my life. In addressing the narrator’s experience of the interview and the narrator’s apparent exclusion from the afterlife of the interview, I claim both a critical space for the narrator but also offer an evolving reflection on the ambivalent power of the institution and, unexpectedly, on the continuing power of heterocentric and silencing discourses.
Just Like You Want Me to Be?: Gay and Lesbian Oral History Projects and the Frameworks of Public History
Jodie Boyd holds a PhD in Australian history from Deakin University. She is currently a Research Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne. Previously, Jodie was Collections Manager at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Jodie has been a research assistant to the Australian Generations Oral History Project and has also had a role on the other side of the microphone as an interviewee for the Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories Oral History Project. She has published in the areas of political, legal, and trade history as well as in oral history.
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Jodie Boyd; Just Like You Want Me to Be?: Gay and Lesbian Oral History Projects and the Frameworks of Public History. The Public Historian 1 May 2019; 41 (2): 269–289. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.2.269
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