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Baker, Catherine. "The Frames We Use: Narratives, Ethnicity, and the Problem of Multiple Identities in Post-Conflict Oral Histories (Bosnia-Herzegovina)." In Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence, edited by Steven High, 285-310. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015.


Baker’s chapter focuses on how oral history narratives can be “framed” by examining accounts of interpreters who were involved in peace support operations in 1990s Bosnia-Herzegovina. These accounts were collected as a part of Languages at War: Policies and Practices of Language Contacts in Conflict. She acknowledges that “All possible frames exist within certain configurations of power… [so the interview can be] a struggle for power to interpret and represent.” This presents oral historians with immense difficulties. Various choices regarding how an interview is conducted can change the “frame,” such as the specific project design, questioning techniques chosen, method of translation, and interview room layout. She concludes: “A critical practice in representing mass violence should take as its target ethnic entitlement and the use of ethnicity as an instrument in gaining and exercising power… Only then are interviewers most able to fulfill their ethical responsibilities.”

Shannon Leggett