A visiting professor from Washington University in St. Louis delivered a fascinating lecture on oral history and the cessation of the Cold War.
Professor Andrew Bergerson of the UMKC History department introduced guest speaker Anika Walke, citing her impressive academic background.
Walke discussed Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in the 1930’s. Later, she reflected on the Cold War era in that relatively new country. The lecture also considered the very nature of history and how scholars construct it. Walke paid special attention to the ways personal perception, gender and age shape history.
“I think oral history is to be understood as creating the history from below,” Walke explained.
What people thought about and recollected is of primary importance to her and her research. She discussed meeting with sources, and how she felt about these challenging but invigorating encounters.
Professor Bergerson enjoyed the overall lecture.
“Above all, what I liked the most about her talk was the way Walke defended the use of oral history as one legitimate tool among many in the toolbox of historians,” Bergerson said.