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 Featured Title
According to Baba
A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury's Ukrainian Community
Stacey Zembrzycki  

$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 4/8/2014
ISBN: 9780774826952    

$32.95 Paperback
Release Date: 1/15/2015
ISBN: 9780774826969    

252 Pages

Shared Oral and Public History series


About the Book

Shortlisted, Kobzar Literary Award 2016, The Shevchenko Foundation

Dreams of steady employment in the mining sector led thousands of Ukrainian immigrants to northern Ontario in the early 1900s. As a child, historian Stacey Zembrzycki listened to her baba's stories about Sudbury's small but polarized community and what it was like growing up ethnic during the Depression.

According to Baba grew out of those stories, out of a granddaughter's desire to capture the experiences of her grandparents' generation on paper. Eighty-two interviews conducted by Stacey and her grandmother, Olga, laid the groundwork for this insightful and deeply personal social history of one of Canada's most colourful ethnic communities. The interview process also brought to light the challenges of doing collaborative oral history with community members, particularly as Stacey lost authority to her baba, wrestled it back, and eventually came to share it, and as interviewees met questions with nostalgic reminiscences, subversive humour, or impenetrable silence.

By providing a realistic glimpse into the hard work that goes into making communities partners in oral history research, this book provides a new paradigm for studying the politics of memory, one that recognizes that people are not passive recipients of their histories but rather counter and create narratives about the past by invoking alternative ways of remembering.

For news and additional information on the book, visit the book's Facebook page and the book's website.

About the Author(s)

Stacey Zembrzycki is an oral and public historian of immigrant, ethnic, and refugee experiences. She is the co-editor of Oral History Off the Record: Toward an Ethnography of Practice.

Table of Contents


1 Building: Recreating Home and Community

2 Solidifying: Organized Ukrainian Life

3 Contesting: Confrontational Identities

4 Cultivating: Depression-Era Households

5 Remembering: Baba's Sudbury


Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index


"This work is highly original from a methodological point of view -- the kind of sharing of authority between the author and Baba is one not often discussed in the literature but frequently experienced in fieldwork. The narrative format is perfect: this is not just a history of Ukrainians in Sudbury but also, as all oral history ought to be, an account of the research leading up to it and of the author's own involvement."
-- Alessandro Portelli, professor of American literature at the University of Roma--La Sapienza

"According to Baba offers a highly original discussion of the challenges involved in 'collaboration' and 'shared authority' in research. It also provides a moving account of the struggles Ukrainian men, women, and families experienced in northern Ontario mining communities. Drawn from interviews and Stacey Zembrzycki's intense discussions with her grandmother, this clearly written and engaging work will be welcomed by students from a range of disciplines and will certainly add to debates in history."
-- Julie Cruikshank, author of Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders

"The level of reflexivity and autocritique brought to the scholarship in According to Baba is rich and revealing, and much needed in the field of oral history. Works such as this are part of a project to move away from oral history as an imperial, colonizing project and to take it closer to the approach of our colleagues in ethnography."
-- Joy Parr, author of Sensing Changes: Technologies, Environments, and the Everyday, 1953-2003

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

History > Canada

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of According to Baba from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
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Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

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Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

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