Oral History of Laborers

Morteza Noorayi (PhD)
Translated by Natali Haghverdian


In the 60s, when oral history was stepping up, women, workers, and those deprived of education became central to the reconstruction of the silent past and the lost worlds. For nearly three decades, and then up to date, in different orders of priority in oral history, these social strata have played a major role in the work of oral historians of the industrial community.

Industrial, agricultural and service workers in all its forms have been the silent backbone of the economy and production of the society. Undoubtedly, their appearance in the society has advantages and it serves equal justice. Planning for any kind for the economy inevitably returns to the logical, healthy, and correct organization of this stratum. Therefore, the retrieval and recount of their up-and-coming past in workshops, factories, farms and markets has an important contribution to optimizing the work and production process. This group has never been given the opportunity to write about themselves and never has been motivated or empowered to do so. The presence of historians alongside this group as the speaking voice of the past can at all times promote and progress the mission of historians and their interest in social history.

In the more or less wider spectrum of oral history in the country, there is little valid and documented work has been done covering this social group. Negligence does not mean that this group does not exist. This group has no access to financial resources for research. Then, it is the duty of institutions and organizations involved in the field. However, in the production of the oral historians there is no sign of concern concerning this group; what shall be done? Such efforts usually leave the scholars and researchers involved unnoticed and they’re never officially appreciated and there are no allocated funds to cover their expenses; what shall be done?

The benefit of this, of course, in all three levels of short, medium and long-term investment for industry owners, employers, planners, legislators, etc. is significant. There might be documented planning outside social research circles for such efforts however the visibility of labor and laborers in the urban and rural life in Iran are not compatible and shall not be replicated for foreign models. Labor and laborer is a national plan and requires collective will particularly in oral history arena; this is an affair for ministries, even municipalities shall contribute is these efforts. Planned efforts shall be organized by scientific poles to emphasize the importance of this concept. It is also recommended for the Oral History Association to have annual meetings on the subject.

The vast majority of the oral history enthusiasts shall be aware that the oral history of the workers and laborers has been the product of passion which includes diverse and intriguing concepts. Nevertheless, the approach adopted in these interviews follows a different pattern. The interview approach with this group of the society is fundamentally different from the usual approaches. Monotonous daily life and tight livelihood leaves no happy season in their mind. Hence, times are similar and history is a daily account to escape the current situation. So, the priority is with group interviews; in light of this, in group interviews the workers and laborers correct one another and give clarity and meaning to the times and incidents. It seems that in such interviews the interviewers have to be in groups of two or three to cover all bases and keep the pace up. Obviously, the interviewers should be well versed in the expressions of labor and laborers. Open questions and subject based projects are recommended.[1]


[1] Notes of Morteza Noorayi(PhD), Isfahan University history professor and head of Iranian local history association written on 25 March 2018 in the University of Sofia, Bulgaria and submitted to the Oral History Association.

Number of Visits: 186


Full Name:
Memory Telling of Zahra Almasian, Veteran Lady of the Holy Defense

Relief in Khorramshahr and Abadan

The first young years of Zahra Almasian coincided with victory of Islamic Revolution and beginning of the imposed war by Saddam Army against Iran. She began working in several fields in Abadan in early days of invasion of Iraqi Baathist in Iran. But as Khorramshahr situation became critical, which was at high risk more than Abadan, she goes to Khorramshahr for relief, and after several days of activity under heavy fire of the enemy, she is injured there.

Research Literature & Oral History

We are constantly dealing with oral history texts that, if included in the historiography circle, their genealogies are missing. Perhaps under appreciation of the most important part of the writing, which is a major contribution to the endurance and validity of the text, has been neglected. Negligence and hurriedness, have caused a lot of work not to be desirable. To this end, we try to recall in this succinct series, the literature of research in accrediting the text.
Three books included memories:

"The Seeds of Pomegranate", "You Are Iranian; Are not You?", "Thirteen in Seven"

By reading this book, you will be familiar with books "The seeds of pomegranate", "You are Iranian, Are not you?" and "Thirteen in seven". These books include memories about Saddams army imposed war against Islamic Republic of Iran.
First chapter of oral history films of Isfahan Bazar unveiled

Accompaniment of oral and visual history

According to the website of Iranian Oral History, “the ceremony for unveiling the first chapter of the collection of oral history films of Isfahan Bazar” attended by a number of veterans of the bazar and organized by Assar Khaneh Shahi Museum (the Center for Studies of Isfahans Public Culture) was held in the Conference Hall of the Central Library of the city of Isfahan on Sunday 29th of April 2018.