The Practitioners Speak on Oral History (1)

Allison Penner: My name is Allison Penner. I’m at Columbia University in New York, New York with Ron Grele. The date is June 15th 2012, and we are doing an interview on the practices of oral history and Ron’s experience with that. So I guess just to get started here, what attracted you to oral history? How did you become an oral historian?

Holly War Aid Worker:

Jamaran- Zohreh Rezayi: “Tahereh Naghi-yi” is a teacher and social activist. It was in women’s social gatherings that I learned about her active participation in war as a photographer and aid worker. Her friends said that she has a lot of memories and uses her mental capacity as a teacher and keen mind in mathematics to preserve them. She has never told her story for the media and is now involved in peaceful activities; however she agreed to an interview with Jamaran and talked about her efforts to save lives of warriors who, she believes, “teased death with their unprecedented mental capacity.”

Sohrab, the All Alone

Sohrab Sepehri, one of Iran's most prominent poets in the contemporary era, spent at least two or three months a year in his birthplace, Kashan, at Café Sharbati. Seifollah Abbasi Moqaddam was a waiter who worked in the café when Sohrab spent his days in his hangout in the west-central city in the 60s. During his stay, Seifollah catered for Sohrab and enjoyed his company. Sohrab even did him a painting which Seifollah has preserved over the years. What follows is an interview with Seifollah, now a diner owner in Kashan, about those days. His recollections are valuable so far as they are pure and unfiltered, and reflect Sohrab's personality and life as a poet and a painter who lived alone and no one knew him in the city.

Naser Palangi’s Interview with Mehr

I made a promise to combatants of martyr JahanAra to paint their portrait/I decided to stay and picture the war “You are crazy! The city is full of mines, it is nothing but ruins, it is dangerous”; these are what the Governor of Khoramshahr told the young painter but he returned to Khormashahr with importunity to fulfill his promise to the combatants and paint their image on the wall of Khormashahr’s mosque. Mehr News Agency – Culture and Art Group: groves, sultry of south, bomb explosion and firing mortars ….design….picture….barrage… “23 year old young man had two choices, he could either return or to stay and he stayed” says the painter.

Interview with Commander Golali Babaei

Golali Babaei speaks about memory writing of war. "Memories of the Sacred Defense days are useful for the betterment of the society and fight against social issues, and can be used to show people how to live a better life." Every year Iran celebrates September 22-29 as the Sacred Defense Week which begins with the anniversary of Iraqi forces attacking Iran borders on September 22 1980 and ends with the anniversary of braking the seize of Abadan on September 29 1982. The history of the 8-year Iraq-imposed war on Iran is full of analyses, interpretations, memories and stories which could be heard from everyone witnessed the crisis. However, when heard from war experts and military commanders of that era, the history of the war and the way things happened are much more precise and well-founded.

Q&A with oral historian Sara Wood

The stories and history surrounding Southern food are just as colorful and diverse as the food itself. The Southern Foodways Alliance collects stories from across the region and celebrates the contributions of countless classes, races and ethnicities on Southern cuisine. Based in Wilmington, N.C., Sara Wood works as an oral historian with the SFA. The Daily Tar Heel sat down with Wood to find out more about her research and what she has learned from working in the South.

Good Will Hunting: An Oral History

Fifteen years after the release of the movie that made them stars, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck—along with the rest of the cast and crew—reflect in their own words on how a long-shot film by two unknowns became one of Hollywood's biggest success stories.

On the crucial examination of a phenomenon

As one of the most striking features of journalism, reports on war have always been appealing to readers. In the interview that follow, Hedayatollah Behboudi, a senior journalist of war, maintains that it is a necessity for the genre to be scrutinized.

Jack Welch: An Oral History

Since he retired as chief executive of General Electric (GE) in 2001, after two decades in the job, Jack Welch’s legacy has been the subject of heated debate. Under Welch, the company’s market value grew from $14 billion to $410 billion, and revenue multiplied fivefold to $130 billion. Yet his brutal management style was legendary. Each year he famously ranked employees and fired the bottom 10 percent. As retirement neared, he pitted three top executives against each other in a bake-off to determine who would be his successor. “You got to be rigorous in your appraisal system,” Welch told Diane Brady in an interview for this story.

Discussing the Historiography of the Revolution with Hedāyatollah Behbūdi

Not long ago, in one of the special episodes on history in the TV show Hezār-o Yek Shab aired during the days commemorating the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Hedāyatollah Behbūdi and Ja`far Golshan, as experts, discussed the historiography of the Islamic Revolution. Their discussion might more or less be regarded as a report on the status quo of the historiography of the Revolution. From the perspective of oral history, reading the said discussion had its merits; therefore, the website of the Iranian Oral History took it upon itself to transcribe the discussion. It should here be noted that once transcribed, the result was modified by Mr. Behbūdi before it was published on the website.
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Memoir Verification

One important question concerning publication of oral history literature is the extent to which the narrator is to be trusted? Is it the obligation of the oral history scholar to verify the memories? Is the scholar allowed to argue with the narrator? Does such literature fit the criteria of an historical resource?
Convoy Narrator of "When Moonlight Was Lost" on the Last Day of Fall

Memory Is "I", Let us Think About "We"

Ayatollah Khamenei wrote a letter of congratulation and condolence for martyrdom of Ali Khoshlafz, the sacred defense veteran and narrator of "When Moonlight Was Lost (Vaghti Mahtab Gom Shod)" on December 20, 2017. The letter is as follows:
An interview with Zahra Sabzeh Ali about her book “Deldadeh”

Memory-writing for the sake of social impact

The seeing of a small photo from martyr Alireza Mahini prompted Zahra Sabzeh Ali to collect the memoirs of this martyr who was from Bushehr and a commander of irregular wars. The result of the work is presented with the assistance of the Art Center and Sooreh Mehr Publications. The release of the book “Deldadeh” or beloved became a pretext for the website of Iranian Oral History to have an interview with her:
About Oral History Production

To Maintain Questions or Not? Is crucial

Production and final setting of the interview content is an important aspect and the oral history scholars have to be well versed on the details and act responsibly. The following have to be taken into consideration: