Thursday, April 2, 2009

Notes for the section of Public History and the Environment

1. Rebecca Conard, "Spading common ground: reconciling the built and natural environments"

-- Irvine Ranch
-- human intervention in constructing "wilderness" in modern world:
   self-concious artifice;
   definition of quality of the modern landscape
--story of an undocumented Mexican squatter
--separation extremes:
   places we live and the places we want to be
--places lies in-between:
   collaboration among historic preservationists, environmentalists and land managers;
   entrenched ideas
--appropriate landscape settings
   stuck on image
--baggages of:
--historic preservation:
   high style architecture and great-name associations
   idealized wilderness
--public land managers:
   conflicts with the preservationists and environmentalists
   insensitive bureaucrats
--compatible between the sustainability and stewarship and the continuum
--protecting the natural environment and preserving important elements of the built environment:
   national park system needs to meet public demand, political necessity, notion of national park
   --Stephen Mather
      infrastructure-->tourism-->public support
      wilderness and Indians' efforts in shaping the landscape
   --New Deal programs
      tourism overburden and greater conservation projects
      design to manage people
   --recreation rather than conservation in 1930s and beyond
      demands for redress by wildlife experts
   --value of the historical architects within the Park Service in 1970s
      illogical categories of land and resource types --> rigid pigeon holes
   --lack of professional deference
     distrust between historic preservation and natural resource conservation
     agreed-upon goals
--lack of professional and institutional arrangements among preservationists,              environmentalists and land managers in collaboration
--historic stone piers
   fundraising effort
   "enable" or "disabled" professionally
--the tangibles of human life by social and cultural historians
   blueprints for interpreting material cultural in historical and environmental contexts.
--physical structures in telling stories
   economic development through recreational use as well protect the natural resource base
--local history construction
   built environment into the natural environment
   heritage eduction and heritage tourism
   Silos and Smokestacks project --> Cedar Valley Special Resource Study by NPS in 1995-->the project kept growing-->create momentum and attract political support--:Silos and Smokestacks saga

2. Glassberg David, "Interpreting Landscapes"

   products of human interaction with the natural environment over time
--analysis of natural setting
   powerful natural forces-->environments
--economic forces in shaping landscapes:
--principal determinants over time
--amplified by new technologies of transportation
--natural environments --> landscapes of leisure and work
--sacred landscape
--nature with religious significance
--site of memorable historical events
--political values
--historical landscape
   creators' attitude toward the past
   passively and actively preserved landscapes
   prevailing racial, class, ethnic and gender relationships: dominant individuals and groups
--interpretation of landscapes by environmental and public historians
   physical description
   social characteristics
--convergence of social, economic and political forces
--interrelation of places within regions and across the large society

Landscapes and Environmental Perception
--shape of the land and meaning given to it by past generations
--landscapes are product
--interpretation both by local residents and outsiders, past and present

Public History and the Interpretation of Landscapes
--public historians in three professional situations:
   expert testimony
   expert in preservation strategy
   expert in landscape interpretation to the public
--programs and exhibits
--dialogue with various communities
--address the larger social and economic forces shaping the landscape

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Recovery from the Vietnam War

In yesterday's class, I did my presentation of the "Recovery from the Vietnam War" in terms of a comparison of the commemorative methods both in Vietnam and the United States. As a matter of fact, the discussions in the class are mainly around the theme of memories of the Vietnam War on the part of the United States, yet I decided to put the two countries together for the purpose of making a sharp contrast, accenting the different ways in healing the traumatic disorders caused by the war and revealing the "fading away" part of the memories on both sides.

In order to make a close connection between the commemorative activities in both countries, I displaced the left wing of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial with a montage of pictures of the Vietnamese on April 30th, the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam War. These picture were taken by an anonymous photographer, and there are 75 in total. I chose more than 40 pictures for my presentation, and put them together in a way that they overlap and touch with each other without a focus but clearly recognizable. The main principle for the arrangement is to present a striking contrast among people's different reactions to this national celebration. Such as one picture catching a moment that a middle-age soldier looks at the camera with tears in his eyes. He wears a number of honors and medals on the left chest of his uniform and stands in the mourning team. This picture is surrounded by some other events, including a cemetery with an old Vietnam woman walking through the gravestones, a pretty little girl smiling with a small American flag on her left face and the former South Vietnam flag on the right, a young vietnamese man smiling for something interesting, a tank marching in front of a big portrait of the former Chairman Ho Chi Minh, and a young girl making a face with the relics of a tank in a historic site. Arrangement like this aims at highlighting the diverse perspectives toward the war in the Vietnamese society after 25 years wartime memory reconstruction as a result of the political negotiation and economic development between the two countries.

The other part of my picture is the right wing of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Washington D.C. The original picture is from the website and it is a beautiful three dimensional image. By dragging the mouse toward different directions, the full extent of the Memorial is vividly demonstrated, such as the blue sky on the top, and the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial on each side. Unfortunately, the half wall I use is no long three dimensional, but a regular picture because of my awkward master of the image processing. This silent and black marble wall here is still to accent the theme of the Memorial as a reconciliation and healing symbol for the American veterans, as well as the whole society which was divided unprecedentedly by the war. Moreover, in contrast to the national celebration in Vietnam on its left, the wall also implies the different way the United States implements to commemorate the war and recover from it, and reveals the contents the Memorial intendedly omits from its memory.

When modifying the pictures, I was a little worried that it might offend some people on both sides because of my manipulating method, such as the pretty little girl I mentioned before. This picture and other two pictures I put in the montage, an old Vietnamese veteran squatting down on a lawn holding the flags of the United States and the former South Vietnam, and the three honor guards wearing the uniforms with the former South Vietnam flag on their right arms, were taken at a ceremony in Washington D. C. for commemorating the former South Vietnam that was defeated by the North Vietnam during the war. Although my purpose of using these pictures is to stress my point that it also functions as a healing and reconciliation process for the veterans once working for the former South Vietnam government just as the Memorial does, it might be unacceptable and intolerable for some people in Vietnam. Similarly, the way of juxtaposing the pictures of celebrating the victory in Vietnam with the names of the deceased soldiers in the Memorial may also hurt some American veterans' feelings. Based on this consideration, I also made preparations for some possible questions my classmates and professor might ask, like where do you plan to put this picture, and my answer would be "my bedroom". But surprisingly, they only pointed out one questionable picture. It is John McCain, American president candidate in 2009, standing under the plaster sculpture of Ho Chi Minh when he paid a visit to Vietnam during the anniversary. I really like the advice that finding another figure who supports the Memorial is a better way to demolish the conflicts between the montage and the Memorial. Maybe because I am an international student, my classmates and Prof. Vance tolerated my project and it went much better than I had expected. Did I expect some controversial issues it brought about? Kind of!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Notes for the section of Gender and Public History

Davey, Frances and Thomas A. Chambers, "A Woman? At The Fort?": A Shock Tactic For Integrating Women's History in Historical Interpretation

-- A wax Jane McCrea surrounded by some fearsome American Indians in an exhibit at Fort Ticonderoga, and a costumed female interpreter attracted many visitors attention. These efforts were used as an opportunity to explain the role of woman at the fort during the 18th and 19th century.
-- The history of the Fort Ticonderga. It was reconstructed in 1908 by Sarah and Stephen Pell, and now run by a private non-profit foundation. The approximate number of visitors each season is 100, 000.
--- Before 1993, the history of the Fort was generally male-centrered military, which was also emphasized by many staff's clothing of the French and American soldiers in 18 century.
--- The new female interpreter depicted at this exhibit a different gender role and time period: a wealthy American traveller of 1830s wearing somber-colored dress, gloves and boots, as well as a group and a guide.
--- The sharp contrast between the Romanticism the interpreter created and the roughness of the military life extends the traditional interpretation of the past history.
--- Visitors usually responded firstly visually and then intellectually. So gender at this exhibit was the primary avenue by which the interpreters challenged the visitors assumptions. More male visitors asked questions about the interpreter's role. As a whole, visitors identified the female interpreter as either a sacrificial virgin or a camp follower, which reflects a traditional male-centric history stereotype.
-- The different reactions of the visitors gave the interpreter a good opportunity to stimulate the visitor questions through tours and conversations, demonstrating a future interpretive position of woman's history.

Knibb, Helen. "Present but not visible": Searching For Women's History in Museum Colletions.

-- This article is to examine the primary issues about museums' acquisition, documentation and interpretation of collections relating to women's history.
-- Based on the "Ordinary Woman- Every Lives" exhibit, the author's purpose to write this article is to explore the community museum collection from a woman's perspective and to begin the development of methodology that could be applied in other similar museums.
--Research must understand the history, context and structures of museums, as well as collection management practice.
-- During the second half of the 19th century, museums were viewed as "engines of progress"
-- For much of the 19th century, museum work was predominantly male profession. Women staff were employed in lower paid positions, often as curatorial assistants. It is not unusual there is a general absence of documentation on the role of women as collectors and museum workers.
-- Museum collections are probably the most neglected resource for the research in the women's history.
--Reason of the absence of museums from research arena in Canada lies in the lack of resource and expertise in community museums.
-- An understanding of collecting practice is key in assessing the value and relevance of museum. Biases are reflected from the collections, which were more on tangible evidence, such as object and docuent, not intangible heritage as customs, traditions, folklore, myths and dance.
-- Factor of motive and impetus that facilitate the transfer of the object to the museum in the section process of acquisition: collections donated by women do not necessarily reveal much about their personal life, but more about social norms, beliefs and values.
--- Systematic collection and documentation usually lack "natural links or relationships" among the artifacts.
--- Omissions in collections and apparent biases can reveal about the community collection. Items provide rich resource on such topics as household utensils, food preparation and costumes, poor on pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing.
--Most North American history museum collections and exhibitions are stereotyped as offering a predominantly white, male, and Anglo Gaolic perspective.
-- Conflicts exist between the exhibition forms and interpretation and understanding women history
--Museum's temporary exhibitions on special themes.
--Curators in small community's reluctance in offering a different perspective on the past history.
--Exploration of women's history challenges traditional approaches to exhibition development and conventual modes of interpretation in history and community museum.
--The collaborative project and its content and intended outcomes.
--Object identification: connection between objects and women in a variety of contexts.
--Donations or gifts are the primary source of acquisition for most museums.
--The museum's patterns of hiring and the interest of various curators.
--Further questions reflected from the exhibit.
--The use of museum collections for women's history is still at formative stage, and past practice in museum management resulted in collection limited in scope and representation.
--Further development: acquisition policies with explicit statement is necessary; a careful plan for collection growth is a priority; project in regional basis; donor questionnaires or interviews must be completed; a classification system and inventory; storage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

History of the Future: Digital World

I really love the phrase "History and the Future". It is for the last part of Prof. Turkel's course of Digital History and we had a very interesting discussion in class yesterday. Talking about the "future" in such a beautiful spring is a fascinating thing. Although I am not sure whether it is spring now, the small blue flowers ready to blossom at the west gate of the campus warm up the coldness in my heart. And the Winter Jasmine placed in a jar on the front desk in the library started to bear some yellow flowers yesterday. In China, we call this pretty flower "welcome spring flower". They remind me a lot of my hometown, my family and my friends. My grandma must have been looking forward to the "Cold Food Festival"; my parents and eld sister must be ready for their first spring picnic on Xiangshan Mountain; My best friends in Jinan should be enjoying the cherry blossoms full of our Alma Mater! Everything tastes so good in spring!

As to digital humanities, technology is an important issue. I am always wondering whether the science and technology actually exceed all imagination under the action of the international armament competition. Take the military technologies during WWII for example, it is shocking for me to see some pictures of the UFO-like transportations made by the German army more than 60 years ago, as well as some weird mind weapons from the KGB secret lab in the former Soviet. Therefore, based on the mounting money each government puts into military and science every year, it is a mystery to what degree the human scientific applications have developed today. There is a depressing saying that the nuclear explosive each person in this world shares is equivalent to more than 10 tons of TNT, which is capable of destroying the earth completely 25 times. Yes! this is a pretty scary math, so is my imagination on the unknown technologies under the veil of national security. Of course, there are many advanced technologies familiar to the public, such as space travel, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, computer and internet, etc. All of these advance the possibilities that technology may serve this world better, or I would say, technology diversifies people's options and patterns in communication and speculation.

The digital products make the world more complicated. Last month I went to the Rogers in my area to change the prepay into a plan because of the high expense. When the shop assistant helped me with a new cellphone, I was stuck in the options for the different designs, styles and functions. After tussling with myself for a long time, I chose the thinnest one that suited my hand well. Then the nice man told me I made a good choice because the cellphone was pretty good at music. I felt a little absurd for an Itouch was just lying in my right pocket of the coat. I never put music in my cellphone for the purse of not forcing my Itouch to retire, just like I barely use the Itouch to surf the internet so as to leave my Mac Air an excuse to stay on my desk. I still don't understand why my fiance insisted to buy me the laptop since he is aware of my hatred to it. This hatred comes from my first laptop my father gave it to me as a college gift. It was a 2.42 kg Compaq but kept breaking down while I was playing the electronic game of the Starcraft. So when my fiance graduated from the same college and left me with his big-head desk top, I was so excited that my roommates called me a fool since everybody was throwing out the desk top for a lap top at that moment. But I still think that was the happy time I really enjoyed computer and internet, because it never failed me due to out of memory or disk space. Then I got the Mac Air from my fiance and kept being frustrated again for its optimal design for the sake of decreasing the whole weight. Undoubtedly, it is successful at this point, but the only two USB plugs existing in my computer leave me no choice but use a bunch of accessories alternatively, such as the CD driver, USB and the mouse. And I need to endure its slow speed while operating some softwares that take up relatively big EMS memory. I really miss the big head but it seems impractical to carry it around with me while the Wi-Fi is available in any place and time on the campus. I don't mean that this portable design is not good, because, first of all, it meets different needs of a lot of people either for fancy technology or practical purpose, such as me who is a small person. And it is a fact that no universal technology exists in this world. But it seems a dilemma that while some technologies are trying to combine more functions into one object, others tries to simplify as much as possible.

What is the digital world like? Whenever I think about this question, one episode of a very popular TV show "Star Gate SG-1" flashes in front of me. The scientific story starts with the expedition's routine exploring in another planet through the Star Gate, a powerful device capable of creating traversable wormholes from one part of the universe to another very quickly. Then the team finds this advanced society in which children never go to school for education but wear a very small memory-like equipment attached to one of their temples. Whenever they need to learn about some knowledge, they just connect to the device using their mind. Isn't it amazing? This episode really reminds of the Wikipedia, because they share the common feature as a collection of knowledge. However, the question is Wikipedia is not an accumulation of dead information, but an outcome of different, even opposite, opinions and perspectives interactive with each other. Even in the field of Science or Physics, one established law is displaced by another along with the development of knowledge. Therefore, it is funny to imagine the confusions or mistakes the device might lead to in that society.

When I was working for a provincial archives in China during one summer vacation, one of my main jobs was to digitalize the old files in the storage, and index on the computer. This is a common case of the digitalization and network-characterization process in the archival work in China as part of the E-Government project started at the end of 20th century. The number of local governments involved in this movement has been increasing at an accelerated rate. By 2005, the coverage was about 81.3%, including institutions both at the provincial and city level. Contrasting with the delightful figure above, organizations not funded by the government do not take digitalization as their top priority, but financial budget. The real estate company I once worked with focused on bridging the reference number of the old files and the new computer index for the benefit of the operation of each department. However, I never doubt the possibility that the profit-making organizations will catch up with the governmental bodies in the process of informationalization. But I do doubt the perspective that technology is the main reason that China has lagged behind its rivals in addressing the fast growing informative revolution. Once the problem, that Chinese government holds an passive attitude in communicating with the public, exists, the digital world being constructed in China will be like a pool of dead water without outlet and inlet.

The application of some technology could be compulsory. A good case is the "Blackout Event" Microsoft company started in Oct. 2008 as a way to fight against software piracy in China market. This event was ranked the first place in the 2009 IT Expense Market March Fifth Annual Report in China for the high public attention up to 12.3%. Compared to the second place of the "Human-powered Search" with 7.4% and the third "China's Telecom Industry Restructuring" with 7%, the Blackout did not influence the Chinese society as significantly as I expected, partially reflecting the reality that Chinese governmental bodies and various corporations both large and small sizes go on relying on the genuine softwares for information security, trade secrets and privacy. However, the most important reason for this phenomenon lies in the fact that Microsoft only blacks 1% of the Chinese consumers' desktops for using piracy Windows XP. It is more like a feeler put out to gauge the reactions of the Chinese IT market. I don't give any sympathy for that part of software developers and consumers in China, but I have to question the conspiracy Microsoft company has planned all these years. Isn't it much easier to crackdown the piracy right from the start, rather than a decade of tolerance of the relevant piracy products popular in China? Obviously, this marketing strategy is far more successful. According to the report of the Multinational Corporations' Anti-competitve Practice and Solution in China released by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce in May 2004, the Microsoft company had a 95% market share in Chinese market, which demonstrates its established monopoly status. During this Blackout Event, Microsoft also reduces the prices of its products. The price of both the family and student versions of the Office 2007 and Windows XP were lowered even by 60%. In addition, among the consumers who are blacked out, there also exists many people who actually own the genuine Microsoft product Vista. As a matter of fact, with the rapid market penetration of the PC brands from both native and foreign agencies, such as Lenovo, Tsinghua Tonfang, Peking Founder, HP, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard, etc, it is pretty common to for these products' agencies to present a genuine operation system to address the competitive Chinese market. However, when the Vista is pushed by Microsoft to the Chinese market, it becomes a compulsory choice for all users. Many consumers preferring to the Windows turn to the piracy products to cut down the extra expense, but have to endure the blackout per hour.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Whose heads?

The boxing between China and Christie began, when the auction house, Christie’s, put two items in its auction list in Feb, a rabbit’s head and a rat’s head that had been looted by the French and British armies 150 years ago.

First, China condemned the auction for harming Chinese people’s feelings and asked for their return. 80 Chinese lawyers even volunteered to start legal proceeding to stop the auction. However, the result was not as the China had expected. The court in France rejected the appeal from Chinese lawyers. And the two sculptures went to  auction and sold for 14,000,000 Euros each on April 25th.

China was pretty angry at this result. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage in China made a strong statement quickly after the auction, criticizing Christie’s for putting up cultural relics transported abroad illegally for auction. It also declared a strict supervision over the entry and exit cultural relics via Christie’s agency in China. 

I have been paying attention to this auction right from the start, and expected the two sides would work out a better solution. Although the result was not surprising, I am pretty disappointed. 

First of all, China has the absolute ownership of the two sculptures, since they were looted during France's invasion. And according to the international treaty in 1995 that all the missing historical relics should go home without time limitation, theoretically, the two sculptures should be returned to China without any condition. China did a good job in taking the lead in handling this affair in accordance with the international agreement, so did the Chinese lawyers. But the question is  France is not a signatory of this agreement. In addition, many European countries did not sign in this treaty. This means the legally binding force of the treaty is diminished greatly and limitlessly.   

Another question is the current owner legally possessed the two sculptures. How to compensate the current owner is also a question. Christie’s revealed that the owner would like to give China the priority to buy the sculptures at a relatively lower price, but refused. Obviously, it is a big shame for China to buy his own property back. But besides this factor, it is not wise for China to do so since the price probably unbearable. Take these Chinese zodiac heads in international auction market for example. The total auction price for the cow's head, tiger's head, and monkey's head was 4,824,279.13 US dollars in 2000; the horse's head solely was 8,840,000 US dollars in 2007; and the total price of the rabbit’s head and rat’s head was estimated to be 1,800,000 Euros (23,249,806.25 US dollars). Therefore, even though the current owner offer China the priority, it's still a blackmail.

The most ironic thing in this event was the owner’s condition for returning the sculptures. He required that Chinese government let Dalai Lama go back to China and give Tibet freedom. When reading this news, I was provoked to anger. It is not that the owner does not have the right to gossip, but on this occasion? I would rather him to say no for his legal ownership, because at least he would win my respect for his upholding the authority of the French law. Even though it is not stable either, because the two sculptures were looted in the first place. But attaching that unreliable political condition to the sculptures on purpose only shows his unwillingness to return them. I don't believe he cares about Tibetans more than Chinese people, and I don't believe this condition would do even a little bit good to ease the tension between the Mainland and Tibet, and I don't believe his words would please even part of the Tibetans, because just like one of my friends' Tibetan friend said, if Tibet wants to become independent, it is the business of the Tibetans, but never the outsiders.

It turned out the story does not end. At a press conference on March 2nd, Cai Mingchao, a collector from Xiamen in China, admitted to be the purchaser of the two artifacts in Paris, but he decided not to pay for them. He claimed his purpose was just to take the responsibility as Chinese. Cai becomes famous in China. Some people call him a national hero, but others criticize his moral value.
This unexpected result is way out Chinese people's imagination. All of a sudden, the voice of criticizing Christie tailed down, and everyone is asking this question: do you need to become a bad guy for some good purpose? An online survey showed that more than 70 percent of Chinese people expressed their approval to his enthusiastic man, but also more than 20 percent people considered his action shamed Chinese people just as the Christie's did.

I cannot stop thinking whether it is worth taking such action. Besides the legal consequence he will face, the ethic issue concerns me as well. And another question is whether it is a good way to discourage those auction companies to back up such auctions. Obviously, the extensive media courage push this auction to be the most successful and profitable pageant by now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Public historians and the great advertising corporation?

In Prof. Vance's class, a one-page article about the massacre of the MacIans in Glen Coe in 1962 was given to us. Prof. Vance asked us to compress the whole article into 80 words in terms of a plaque. We were divided into three groups and worked on the plaque separately within 20 minutes.

It is a smart way to show how public historians introduce a certain history to the public. Our group decided to demonstrate the "fact" of the massacre. So the information about the time when it happened, reason why it happened, way of how it happened, people who killed, and people who were killed were the main points put in our plaque. Comparing to the other two groups, these are also the main points they decided to put in their plaques. Although the way of constructing these information are obviously a little different among the three groups, the main tone is the same: as subjective as possible. To be honest, history is not as interesting as historical story or legend, and reading history written in this way is a little boring.

Prof. Vance plaque showed us the plaque he wrote later. It is much a little different from ours. The view on the massacre reflected from his plaque seems to stand on the side of the victims in Glen Coe, and two aspects are accented: the reason of the massacre and the end of the story. In terms of the reason, Prof. Vance stresses the role of the massacre, which is considered to be an example of punishment by the government when the chief of Glen Coe failed to show his loyalty to the King William III. When it comes to the end of the short article, Prof. Vance uses numbers of the victims and the escape of the others into hill to finish the whole plaque.

I think, the most interesting point in Prof. Vance's plaque is that it is not a complete story. There is no mention of what happened later to the people who escaped into the hill, like we did in our plaques, clearing that the Glen Coe was granted protection by the government later. However, this incompletion is very attractive to me because it actually evokes my interest and encourages me to find out more about the massacre. This is an good example to show how history is presented by historians, and the reaction to this presentation. 

When it comes to tourism, this reaction is one of the purposes public historians want to achieve for a historical site or museum project, because there is no doubt that money could help preserve the history. Then, whether public historians have become a part of the great advertising corporation of today? I have not figure out this interesting question I ask myself, but since it is interesting, I will pay much attention to it.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some thoughts about Oral history

Oral history is an very interesting topic. It reminds me of one of my classmates' dissertation that oral resources are archives. As an archives researcher I disagreed with her based on a core archival principle: archives are the spontaneous products along with the process of a certain event in terms of written-paper, tapes, videos and other forms of media, and obviously, oral history is out of this concept, because it is not produced spontaneously, but delayed in time. My viewpoint invoked a big argument among the professors, guest session chair and my classmates. And it turned out that only one of the professors clearly agreed with me. I still insist in my position and I don't think it is a good idea to put oral history into the category of archives.

First of all, to put the oral history into the category of archives reflects an intention to expand of the concept of archives. It is not deniable that archival work gets more and more social recognition in China since 1980s, and the completion or construction of archives in city capitals, universities, companies, and other institutions  are undergoing smoothly and quickly, but it doesn't mean the role of archives as the social "information foundation" has ever been changed, and it is not a wise step to collect as many kinds of materials as they can by vesting them in the category of archives while isolating itself from museums and libraries. The problems, such as the capacity of archives, the cost and maintenance, the human and physical resources, etc would be big burdens for archives to take into account. I still think the most   emergent and challenge thing for archives to do is to give more accesses to the collections already in existence to the public, in which Chinese archivists have already done a good job.

Oral history offers more aspects about a story or event, and this is the most attractive thing for me. Alessandro Portelli in The Peculiarities of Oral History says that "there are no "false" oral sources", but it is really hard to abandon the concept of "false". When I was doing research in the June Fourth 1989, I watched a video Tiananmen by Carmelita Carma Hinton, wellkonwn as Carma in China, an American author who was born in China and participated in Cultural Revolution as a member of Red Guards. One interviewee in this tape gives me a lot thoughts. His name is Wang Dan, one student leader in that student movement. According to this video, Wang told the interviewer that he advocated the students to give up the occupation of Tiananmen Square at the end of May 1989, because the Square at that time was a real dump and the spirit of that student movement seemed to be lost. However these words were later refuted by another important student leader, Feng Congde, saying that Wang was one of the student leaders advocating to go on occupying the Square until the end, and Feng questioned that Wang's purpose was to deny the democratic nature of the student movement and made conformation with the CCP for his own image.  Leaving Carma's background and purpose of making this video, this video is kind of a good example to reflect one nature of the oral history, that is interviewee's views changed with time, either on purpose or not.

After all, oral history is a very interesting and unfamiliar area for me, and I would like to explore funny stories about it.