Defense of thesis "Investigating the role of interviewer in oral history"

Maryam Asadi Jafari
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


The meeting of thesis

The defense meeting of thesis entitled "Investigating the role of interviewer in oral history, with an emphasis on interviewing 5 freedmen of sacred defense" written by Akram Shanasnai was held in Rabbani Hall, located at the Faculty of Literature and Humanities of Isfahan's University in 20th January 2019.

According to Iranian Oral History website, this thesis has been compiled with the guidance of Dr. Mostafa Pirmoradian and the advice of Dr. Asghar Foroughi Abri, and by the endeavor of Akram Shassnai, a graduate student in the field of Islamic Iran history. Dr. Morteza Nouraei and Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi Fesharaki were the judges of this thesis. After defending the thesis, Shassanai gained an excellent score.

In this research, researcher used the library data and oral history interviews to answer the main question of how interviewer plays role in oral history. And s/he get this hypotheses that the role of interviewer is the same as the historian's role in written history.

Accordingly, the interviewer, in addition to being familiar with the communicative skills and techniques of interview, must have scientific features in order to be able to cite external and internal critique of narrator and narration, and present a narration to be accepted reasonably and historically. It should also be noted that both interviewer and interviewee appear as historians.

In the thesis "Investigating the role of interviewer in oral history", the results of research in an interview with 5 freemen of sacred defense are used. In the fifth chapter of this thesis, Akram Shassanai explained do and don’ts of interview with the freemen as follows:

1. Interviewer should know the importance of his interview.

2. Interviewer should be a good listener for the disasters and grief of interviewee.

3. The interviewer should report the captivity as it was.

4. Interviewer should consider different prisoners' assessments of their captivity and activities.

5. Interviewer should consider the age, occupation and social and economic origin of prisoners before and after captivity from their perspective.

6. Interviewer should consider the illnesses and problems of prisoners during the interview.

7. Interviewer should study on the conditions of captivity and 22-tasking camps.

At the end of this chapter, the author concludes that the interviewer is both an archivist and an independent individual, play the role of a historian of oral history along with the interviewee; attending in interview and narration of history, with any motive and purpose, is the field of the capabilities and skills of interviewer, provided that s/he recognizes his / her role and accepts it so that s/he can handle the desired interview.

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