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An oral history of the April 1, 1946 tsunami at Laupāhoehoe, Hawaiʻi: a case study in the educative value of constructing history from memory and narrative

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Title: An oral history of the April 1, 1946 tsunami at Laupāhoehoe, Hawaiʻi: a case study in the educative value of constructing history from memory and narrative
Authors: Nishimoto, Warren S.
Advisor: Tamura, Eileen H
Keywords: Tsunamis -- Hawaii -- Historiography
History -- Methodology
Historiography -- Hawaii
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: The tsunami of April 1, 1946 was the deadliest natural disaster in the history of modern Hawaiʻi. Of the 159 casualties in the islands, twenty-four died at Laupahoehoe, a sugar plantation community on Hawaiʻi island. This study presents and analyzes oral history narratives of five survivors and eyewitnesses. In one-to-one interviews, four students and one teacher of Laupahoehoe School recalled their early life experiences, as well as what they saw and heard that morning in 1946; how and why they reacted to the unfolding drama the way they did; and how the events of that day affected them to the present. The oral histories are examined through two lenses. First, as living historical documents, they reveal a human side of the tragedy, a side often overlooked by researchers pre-occupied with statistical and scientific explanations. Documenting people's life experiences and values, the oral histories provide us with knowledge and understanding of tsunamis from humanistic as well as scientific perspectives. Second, as case studies, the interview narratives reflect oral history's role in an emerging trend in social science research, in which the process of gathering data is almost as closely analyzed as the data itself. This study examines memory, or how and why we recall life experiences; narrative, or how and why we tell stories about what we remember; and history, or how and why we preserve these stories for present and future generations. Oral history involves an interviewee/narrator who, in a conversational, question-and-answer setting with an interviewer/researcher, recalls details of his/her life experiences. The interviews are recorded, processed, preserved, and transmitted in various formats for posterity. This examination of oral history, or the "alchemy" of transmuting memory into history, demonstrates its educative role to all involved in the process: the interviewee/narrator, who has lived through and remembers his/her life experiences; the interviewer/researcher, who collaborates with the interviewee/narrator to construct historical narratives; and present and future generations of scholars, students, and the lay community, who will utilize the narratives as primary accounts about the past.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 219-231).
Electronic reproduction.
Also available by subscription via World Wide Web
show 1 moreix, 231 leaves, bound 29 cm
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Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Educational Psychology

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