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Idea & Methods
Oral History

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Idea & Methods

The idea behind and what other people might get out of it

The idea of making cultural historical materials available on the internet came to me as I was working on the oral history project I have been carrying out since early 2004 as part of my doctoral thesis entitled (translated):

"The singing heart of the working class"
The art and propaganda of Ernst Busch (1900-1980)
A political and cultural historical biography

Interviews with various experts and with Busch's contemporaries and are at least as important in my work as archival documents. You will notice that some of the interviews to be found on this site date from before I actually started the oral history project. This is because I have been studying the left wing legend Ernst Busch in a journalistic capacity since January 2000, and in an academic capacity since 2001.

Published on the site are selected interviews conducted over the past five years. For me, the site represents a way of creating transparency in the academic writing process, and equally a way of avoiding having these texts gather dust in some forgotten printed annex to my thesis. The internet seems like as good a place as any for them – at least it offers the potential for other people to be able to profit from the material. is not intended to be a substitute for an academic study in the form of a book, just a useful supplement to the book.

My biographical study of Ernst Busch, when it is written, will not be about the artist exclusively, but also focus, from a generational-historic perspective, on the many people who were interested in what he had to say. My interviews with Busch's contemporaries show that three separate generations of the German left were influenced by the revolutionary songs of the "red Orpheus", as Busch was often referred to. This website gives a voice to all three political generations of Busch fans and followers.

In summary, I would like to be more than a digital annex to an academic biography of an artist. Although most of the questions asked in the interviews published here do focus on Ernst Busch, the discussions that took place also shed light on many interesting cultural historic aspects of the times. To make for easier orientation, I therefore list at the beginning of each text the most important topics which arise in that particular interview.

My long term aim is to build up into a larger platform providing a window onto all kinds of different research projects on the cultural history of the 20th century.

Jochen Voit

Last Update 2006-09-12 | Copyright© Jochen Voit 2005 | print page | E-mail a friend about this site

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