The positions of criticism in oral history

Morteza Nouraee
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


The purpose is to contribute mechanisms for various texts on the field of oral history or titled oral history in Iran, which are less frequently read, criticized and evaluated. It was a time when just few works were done in this area; if it was examined and criticized, it would be possible that nobody take step in this direction. But today, we are faced with a variety of published titles every day; it may be a good opportunity to test and screen them. Apart from the general critique of Iranian oral history; it should be noted in the imbalance of research and the lack of attention to the form of same issues and also the excessive emphasis on general elitism in various structures, that we are dealing with writings that are essentially outside of oral history field and in another field, but they are presented with an attractive title of oral history. Even in the field of theoretical principles, we are faced with hard and comedown works whose content have been outlined and described in recent years, and author, for the lack of understanding in research literature, has considered the issue as a novel phenomenon: "when you do not know something, it's not a reason for not being."

In the sequel to this, a category is suggested for critical engineering in oral history. As if, further and lower than it, oral history is open to be criticized. At the same time, the focus of criticism on some of major principles of production (internal and external) can complete the circuit of analysis.



In general, the products of oral history can be classified in two areas: compilation and translation. Compilations generally include books or articles written on the basis of an interview (subject or person-centered), or in the fields of the principles and methodology of oral history. This is beyond the writings which proceed to "novel".

1. Who is author?

2. How far is the research literature approach toward the zero point of the subject and highlight the subject matter?

3. What extent the type of questionnaire package and its production text (with or without a questionnaire package) applied in assumptions or variables and what level have they succeed?

4. How reliable is the documentation of text? How much does the documentation outside of the interview confirm and agree with it?

5. Which group is addressed?

The translated texts on oral history are also expanding and have good addresses. These handwritten books have not been criticized, and their translators have less respect for the level of verification of their work; they have occasionally verified their work as their personal taste or accidental access to a text or to a compilation. Translated texts, in most cases, substantially declined from the scientific and eloquent level of Iranian oral historians to low a level and position. In addition to the lack of planning in the field of translation necessities, many valuable works and extraneous reference will never be available. At all times, there are several principles in the form of critique of translation of oral history texts:

1. Who is author?

2. Where is methodology and scientific position of a work in the geography of original language?

3. Which need will be fulfilled by this book? Which group is addressed?

 4. Who is the translator? What is his experience in oral history?

5. According the level of translation and the extent of a translator's interference, terminology, and institutions, to what extent can the book transfer concepts?

It is worth noting that some books are rarely translated or translating into Persian in the field of interview. This is due to the fact that these types of writings, in addition to their complexity, have fewer addresses and geographical problems.


In the end, who is critic?

In fact, critique is post-publication editing, while editing is a pre-publication critique. In this way, it should be said that author and critic can help to verify the authenticity of Iranian oral history's texts. One of the suggested solutions is to have professional journals in this field and researchers enter the criticism of textbook of oral history and turn it into a process.[1]



25 Nov 2018


[1]The note of  Dr. Morteza Nouraee, Professor of History at the University of Isfahan, and the president of the Iranian Local History Association, who has been sent it to Oral History Association of Iran, entitled: " The positions of criticism in oral history; The One-Way road of  Iranian Oral History ".

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