Oral History Interview & Importance Part 1

Oral History, Path to Cultural Dialogue

Hamid Qazvini
Translated by: Natalie Haghverdian

2017-04-19


Recording memories is a vital endeavor which is called “Oral History” in case conducted through active and targeted interviews.

In this method of historiography, isolated and marginalized social groups get involved in record of history and culture and define a new role and status for themselves; hence, oral history is perceived as a demographic method of historiography. In fact, the main and key characteristic of oral history is interaction with communities, groups, events and life style of ordinary people of which we have heard and read less. It might be said that oral history has a critical role in establishing dialogue between “communities” and the “general society”; a dialogue established be recitation and recording the history of various communities and events.

Also, culture and history of a nation includes all the elements from the lowest layers to the highest levels and various political, social, etc. groups. In such circumstances, the status of non-governmental or specialized institutions and centers is more pronounced; especially when they can afford to pursue their responsibilities free from any political affiliation or function and purely based on cultural objectives and provide opportunities to preserve the history and culture of a society.

Oral history, indeed, is a path for cultural dialogue between members of a society and shall have a crucial impact in political, social, economic and cultural arenas, especially in a society like Iran where oral culture is more prevalent than written culture. Involvement of the members of the society with their past and documentation of historical information while preserving history resolves some historical doubts and ambiguities.

On the other hand, this style of historiography opens new thematic domains and offers novel approaches to the researchers and due to its interdisciplinary nature affords to cover and elaborate cultural, social, economic and political aspects.

The other characteristic of this type of historiography is that the literature published in oral history domain has a smooth prose and establishes a close connection with the audience and is consequently more successful in attracting and interacting and impressing the audience. Obviously, the larger the number of oral history activists and literature means greater impact.

 

Individual or Subject

In a general overview we might categorize the thematic domains of oral history into two categories of “individual oriented” and “subject oriented”. In the first form, the narrator(s) life is studied and effort is made to receive his/her memories and experiences in different periods of time and concerning various events. Books on memoirs of revolutionary characters and commanders in the Holy Defense and scientific features are examples of this category.

In the other group, scholars of oral history, consider recording memories concerning a specific subject. In this domain subjects such as Holy Defense Operations, important events during the Revolution, shooting in a Revolutionary Institution and others are to be stated.

Each category is important in its own right and there are similarities and differences which will be discussed in future notes.

 



 
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Visiting Director of Ashrafi Publication in the Session of "Oral History of Book"

I Advertised in Newspapers for Introducing Book

According to Iranian Oral History Website the third session of new term of sessions titled "Oral History of Book" was held with effort of Nasrollah Haddadi, author and researcher, in Khaneh Ketab Institutions Saraye Ahl-e Ghalam. The meeting hosted Abolghasem Ashrafolkottabi, one of protagonists of publication field, on Wednesday April 26, 2017.
Oral History Interview & Importance Part 4

Narrator Identification & Selection

As discussed before, oral history is a participatory process in history development so that different information concerning political, cultural and social events are recorded and published in a targeted interview. It is important since the perspectives and narrations of a number of people are gathered in recording historical events.
Holding Session of "Necessities of Compiling Oral History of Children and Young Adults Performance"

We Have Had One hundred Year Children Theater, But not Its Oral History

According to Iranian Oral History Website professional meeting of "Necessities of Compiling Oral History of Children and Young Adults Performance" was held with presence of members of children performance foundation and Davood Kianian organized by Document Research Institute of National Library in Parham Hall of the research institute in Tuesday April 18, 2017. In the session seven activists of children area gave a speech.
Oral History Interview & Importance Part 3

Selecting a Subject

Selecting a subject is one of the key steps in oral history interviews. Oral history interviews are either subject or individual based. Naturally, to selecting a subject requires great precision. As it was said before, oral history interviewer shall not only have the spirit of inquiry and research but also have general and technical information on the subject and avoid any bios towards the individual and social and political events in question.