Publication of Oral History Theory in Persian

Mohammad Ali Fatemi
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


“Oral History Theory” by Lynn Abrams, translated by Fathali Ashtiani was published by the Office of Islamic Revolution Literature and Soureh Mehr Publication in 2018.

The book is structured in 421 pages and eight chapters: the introduction transforms the applicable approach to theoretic, the characteristics of oral history, self, subjectivity, intersubjectivity, memory, narrative, performance and power. Couple of forewords and introductions precede the eight chapters and then followed by the references used to compile the eight chapters of the book.

One introduction mentions that “in Iran … key themes discussed in the field of oral history are drawn upon the studies of foreign elite. Undoubtedly, to reach the theoretic frameworks and applicable methodology to study historical issues and events in Iran … studying the theoretic principles and methodology of oral history studies through translation of relevant material is necessary… translation of this book was also based on the very same need…”

The translator has elaborated that “Oral History Science in Iran is still in its infancy and the concepts and expressions applied fall short of proper and precise Farsi equivalent and definition. Hence, I’ve tried to find proper and understandable and equal concepts in Farsi for the foreign concepts introduced.”

The definitions of certain themes introduced in the book are very interesting and might be very effective in the works of those pursuing oral history methodology or apply such methods in their studies; including: what is oral history? Record of interviews and transcription, various types of personal accounts, prevailing arrangements in oral history, research necessities, methods of ‘self” narrative, intersubjectivity in interviews, self-biography, memory and emotional harms, collective memory, relativity of personal and collective memory, what is narrative? Narrative analysis, narrative structure analysis, gender and ethnicity in narrative, origins of oral history and performance and application of performance theory and oral history, elite oral history, etc…

In the last page, it has been stated that “the aim and objective of compiling the book is to introduce effective theories in oral history material analysis in a user-friendly language to the historians. We have drawn the roadmap of this methodology in our path…the most interesting aspect of applicable oral history methodology is far beyond the mere capability to approach preliminary resources and building a relationship but it is an opportunity to design novel analytical and expository approaches originating from the desire of the respondent to understand the meaning …. Oral history is something like:  our respondents tell their stories and during this process and after, the importance of their stories come to light for the narrator and the interviewer. We hope that these theories and their applications as introduced in this book will assist researchers in the better and deeper understanding of this process.”

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