November 12, 2014 | Category: Blog | Author:

Weekly roundup — oral history, story platform, ‘legends’ of war

Photo from “In These Times” story; the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm is the subject of an oral history project.

ORAL HISTORY RESURGENCE: An In These Times article called “Terkel’s Torchbearers” says that there’s a recent flourishing in the practice of oral history: “Studs Terkel, its most famous advocate, died in 2008, but his legacy thrives. Practitioners continue to believe oral history can be a powerful tool for building the progressive movement.” Several of the projects featured are part of the “Groundswell” group on oral history for social change.

NEW STORY-GATHERING PLATFORM: The Consumers Union has a new stories-for-change platform called The platform is free for any organization to use, at least while it’s in beta. A participating group puts out a question to its constituents to answer in the form of a short story (in writing), and the group then assembles and organizes those mini stories for advocacy purposes. Consumers Union has been gathering stories for advocacy purposes since 2003, and is applying its expertise to this platform. Watch a short slideshow about the platform at the bottom of this page.

WAR STORIES: From a New York Times op-ed: “Here’s a legend that’s going around these days. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq and toppled a dictator. We botched the follow-through, and a vicious insurgency erupted. Four years later, we surged in fresh troops, adopted improved counterinsurgency tactics and won the war. And then dithering American politicians squandered the gains. It’s a compelling story. But it’s just that — a story.” The writer is Daniel P. Bolger, a recently retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and the author of Why We Lost. Bolger goes on to say that a true reckoning with the war’s cost would serve us better in the future than do the comforting stories we tell to justify the war in retrospect.