Animal stories and oral history: Witnessing and mourning across the species divide

Carrie Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A significant feature of oral history over the past few decades has been an interest in memory, witnessing, and mourning. Most research in this area has understandably focused on memories of violence and loss suffered by human beings in war, genocide, and other major catastrophes. Recent research in animal history and animal studies, however, argues that human beings can and should also bear witness to the violence committed against other-than-human animals, and that mourning is not an experience unique to people or to human-human relations. This article brings these two fields of study - oral history and animal studies - into conversation through an exploration of the themes of witnessing and mourning in a life story interview with an animal rights activist. It aims both to encourage oral historians to be more attentive to other-than-human animals in their research, and to demonstrate that oral history can contribute valuable evidence about animal lives and human-animal relations to the emerging field of animal history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-210
JournalOral History Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018


  • animal rights; oral history; testimony; mourning

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