A report about XVI International Oral History Conference

6 September 2010

A report of XVI International Oral History Conference


By: Mahdi Abolhassani Taraghi,

History Instructor and PHD candidate in Islamic Iran History, Isfahan University


XVI International Oral History Conference was held from July 7th-11th, 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic and participated by hundreds of Oral historians. More than 700 proposals hade been presented to the conference and about 500 papers were accepted from 50 countries.


Organizers were as follow:







The IOHA conference is held every two years in one of the country members. During the 5 days of XVI conference, 445 people presented papers in 14 themes and professional panels as follow in English and Spanish:


           Ecology and Disasters Environmental issues, natural heritage and cultural change

           Memories of violence, war and totalitarianism, The persecuted, civil rights, trauma and forgetting

           Memory and politics: Experience of political participation

           Islands of Freedom: The role of subculture, folklore and oral traditions in society. Alternative culture

           Memories of Family: Motherhood, fatherhood and generational exchange

           Gendering memories and the making of sexual identities: Oral Histories of gays and lesbians

           Health and Healthcare: health centers, the elderly and disabled_ health workers

           Methodological, archival and technological issues: Theory and Method in Oral History Legal and ethical

           Migrations: Exile, migratory movements, Diaspora and the search of identity

           Oral History and the Media

           Organizing Oral History: Institutions, archives, museums, organizations and grassroots groups

           Sharing-Passing on Beliefs: Religion and oral traditions

           Teaching Oral History: Experiences in formal and informal education

           The World of Work Memories and experiences, Gender and the perception of labor


Other than the above panels and professional meeting, some other new panels and subjects were presented that can be considered for future Oral History conferences.

On the first day, July 7th 2010, after the registration of participants and introducing programs, general sessions of the conference were held in 3 parallel sections in English and Spanish. Oral History of Education, its Methodology Analysis and Oral history Interviews and People, and Pathology were the subjects of these classes.


Paper presentations started on July 8th, 2010. Each panel included 9 parallel sections and each section included 4 speeches and papers.

The inauguration ceremony of XVI Oral History Conference started at 20:00 on July 8th in Charles University of Prague, in the center of this historical city.

The closing ceremony was held on July 10th, 2010 in the historical church of Saint Ann, built in 1316 in the center of Prague. In this ceremony after appreciating organizers and supporters of the conference, the awards were given and finally future programs were presented.

Oral history Education Panel was among significant parts of this conference. One of two Iranian papers, “Teaching Oral History: Experiences in Formal and Informal Education” by Mahdi Abolhassani was presented in English in Public Hall C. The audience noted this article and was followed by a Q&A session.

Abolhassany along with the paper described the activities of History Department of Isfahan University, The Bureau for this Islamic Revolution Literature, National Library and Archives Organization of IR of Iran, and other centers and institutions in using Oral History Method. He also presented some information about founding Iranian Oral History Association and organizing professional Oral History workshops.

In professional sessions of the conference, Iranian Oral history website was introduced to the researchers of other countries and some negotiations were made regarding holding mutual conferences by Iranian Oral History Association and International Oral History Association and Czech Republic Oral History Association.


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