(Un)speakable pasts: reflections on working at the edges of queer oral history

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the challenges, and the surprising possibilities, of working at the edges of queer history with narrators whose stories intersect with the history of the queer community but who have diverse relationships to and understandings of queer life. The chapter considers the stories of two narrators, Sarah a straight woman and John a gay man, both Australian nurses who worked with HIV and AIDS patients in the 1980s and 1990s but who each recalled the queer life of a small rural Australian town in very different ways. Whilst Sarah was reticent when it came to discussing (homo)sexuality in her home town, John shared vivid recollections of his own sexual history in the same locale. Placed side by side, they provide a glimpse into the nuances of the queer past in a small town; lives lived in shadows, secrets and shame but also joyful, defiant, and open lives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew directions in queer oral history
Subtitle of host publicationarchives of disruption
EditorsClare Summerskill, Amy Tooth Murphy, Emma Vickers
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781003092032, 9781000569247
ISBN (Print)9780367551148, 9780367551131
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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