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We tried to introduce, to describe (with the help of the index) and to put together data in this database, making them accessible to the user, offering him several types of memory sources about Banat, each of them being a specific type of memory practice:
Monographies, more specifically works that present a town, an institution, a community, a field of activity, a street, etc. diachronically, focusing on historiographical cause-effect links; works presenting and analyzing significant facts (events) emphasizing the role played by a town, institution, family, personality, etc in a wider context; works presenting and analyzing personalities, specific institutions; works filing towns, institutions, individuals, etc; works describing and analyzing communities, traditions, customs, gestures, practices, etc. As a form of memory discourse, the monography enables us to look into the relation between memory and history and the way various social entities use and manage the memory and the history of certain communities, places, institutions, families, etc, giving us access to a very rich and rewarding material in terms of the cultural history of a region where this practice enjoyed a lot of prestige and success. Historian Vasile Docea was especially concerned with this segment of research.
Literary sources, namely works of fiction that contribute to the imaginary moulding of a theme and the formation of the memory of a place or moment. Adriana Babeți and Cornel Ungureanu, who were in charge of processing and selecting those sources, had in mind works by authors writing in several languages specific to Banat. The introduction of these sources in the database was preceded by a typological classification of these sources available in several languages (Romanian, German, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovak, etc.) and by their analysis in terms of memory practices and cultural identity themes. Resulting from previous personal projects or projects run by the “Third Europe” Foundation on Central European literature, the selection made by Adriana Babeți and Cornel Ungureanu within the Banat literature takes into account its inclusion in a wider context than the regional one and the work experience in the Dictionary of the Central European Novel.
- Memoirs and diaries (of various types, including travel accounts). A part of them has a borderline status, being placed in between autobiography and fiction. They were registered and introduced in the database without taking into account these peculiarities. We selected, among autobiographical memory practices, both published memoirs and diaries and manuscripts in personal or family archives or available in the archive of the “Third Europe” Foundation. As in the case of other types of sources, the database specifies their location or place of publication, the period they refer to, the themes they focus on. The entire team processed, selected and introduced these sources in the database. A special support was requested and granted by a specialist who is not a member of the group, namely Valeriu Leu, first degree researcher at the High Banat Museum in Reșița, a celebrated specialist in the field of oral history.
- Correspondence. We focused on volumes of literary correspondence and not only, where references are made to places in Banat or various aspects of life in Banat in different historical periods.
- Oral sources. This category included two aspects: oral history sources and oral sources with an ethnographic character.
Oral history sources
Most of these are interviews with life’s stories from the Oral History Archive of the “Third Europe” Foundation. This archive was created with the support of various research projects run by the Foundation, initiated in 1997 by a group of students and researchers who founded the Oral History and Cultural Anthropology Group coordinated by Smaranda Vultur, a group whose members are Aurora Dumitrescu, Bogdan Nadolu, Adrian și Roxana Onica, Mihaela Sitariu, Raluca Gaga Mateescu, Alexandra Dorca Jivan, Gilda Vălcan, Florina Jinga, Ramona Magheți, Ștefana Neamțiu, Mihai Crâznic, Adriana Roșioru, Antonia Komlosi, Simona Branc. The archive contains over 800 hours of recorded interviews in the form of life’s stories and 30 conducetd interviews about the memory of life in Timișoara. The interviews in the archive are transcribed, most of them computer edited and accompanied by photos and other personal documents. The interviewees belong to generations born between 1908 and 1965. The interview files introduced in our database give us access to a wide range of social, ethnic, religious statuses, to life experiences which are reflected in them. The index and other criteria of describing the interviews give us access to the most frequently evoked themes (family, education, professional career, milieu, etc), but also to the relations or images the interviewees have about themselves or about the others, the Romanians, the Germans, the Hungarians, the Serbs, the Jews, the Bulgarians, the Slovaks, the Czechs, the Roma, etc., who lived or are still living in Banat. Besides the life’s stories, we introduced – and will continue in this direction – conducted or semi-conducted interviews, focusing on specific research themes, such as the deportations to Bărăgan or to the USSR or Transnistria, the 1989 Revolution in Timișoara, the collectivization, the memory or urban life in Banat, the theme of the old age or death, gender relations, etc. Undergraduates and MA students took part in some of this research.
The oral sources from or with the character of ethnological documents belongmostly to the Folklore Archiveof the West University, coordinated by Otilia Hedeșan and her field research. They are either stories with a memorial character told by the interviewees or ethnographical documents proper about practices, rituals, customs. As in the case of the other sources, the description with the help of thematic indices enables us to link these sources with the others used in the database. With the search „carnival” for example, one has access both to the ethnological evidence and to the stories of the witnesses or other persons involved in this special event, who took part in interviews or were present when the stories were recorded in the monographies.
MemoriaTimisoarei.ro | Memoria.ro | DeportatInBaragan.ro | BanaTerra.eu | Institutul de Istorie Orala Cluj | The Oral History Interview
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