Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ethics of Oral History

Cliopatra is always worth reading, but Chris Bray's series of posts on the ethics of oral history must be hitting home with any historian who has ever turned on a recorders.  (There's one for June 15: "Moral Decency requires that I betray you", but there are earlier ones farther down.)  

Boston College oral historians interviewed IRA members in great detail about their history of murder and violence on a promise of lifetime confidentiality.  Now the police want a subpoena.  Quite a few commentators say, sure, okay, no problem, hand it over.
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