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Wilson, Robert A. "The Role of Oral History in Surviving a Eugenic Past." In Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence, edited by Steven High, 119-38. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015.


Wilson’s chapter investigates how oral history testimonials can be used to help the survivors of eugenics, specifically those who were deemed to be “mentally defective” and were surgically sterilized in western Canada through 1973. Wilson’s project, the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, documents the survivors’ stories to make sure that they are a part of the public historical record that will start to “break the silence.” This oral history project has been key to help the survivors move forward with their lives, as well as help rectify historical errors: “The stories that survivors are starting to tell both compensate for the paucity of accessible documentation on the history of eugenics in western Canada and redress some of the biases of academic history and philosophical reflection conducted in the absence of personal experience.”

Shannon Leggett