Latin American Oral History Network


Rubén Kotler y Mariana Mastrángelo
On December 1st, 2010, the Latin American Oral History Network (RELAHO ) was formally established. Its goal was to foster exchange, discussion, production and circulation of oral history within Latin America. The Network is not a professional association. Rather, it is a federation of associations.  This means that RELAHO is not associated with any individual. Rather it is affiliated with national oral history associations, research groups, local memory associations, or school projects. The basic idea behind this Network is not to repeat the national or international groups, such as COHA or IOHA, but to complement their efforts by easing the circulation of information, making it easier to be part of the practice and world of oral history.
The RELAHO was set up after many discussions between Latin American oral historians at different conferences. However, as this was not enough, the key issue was whether Oral History in Latin America had achieved expanded enough to acquire a network to support it. In 2010 the Brazilian Oral History Association hosted a conference in Recife, Brazil. The ABHO President of the time, Regina Guimaraes Neto hosted a discussion on the establishment of a regional network. With support of the Argentine Oral history Association and the Mexican Oral History Association, RELAHO was organized bringing together groups in Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, as well as Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.
Information is shared through a web page (http://www.relaho.org/index), and anybody can access it free of charge. Since information is power, the site’s core value is to publish all the information sent to it pertaining to Oral History. The democratizing of information implies that individual links should not be restricted. Therefore, the network will ease contacts, flow of information, and discussions between practitioners of oral history throughout Latin America and the world.
The website includes usual features, such as tabs for information on meetings, conferences, and congresses, and publishing news. It also includes a collection of oral history archives in Latin America, and the email addresses of associations, research groups, projects, and even individual practitioners of oral history. An important feature of this site is that its virtual library of articles, books, and interviews. It also contains links to oral history sites, digital journals, bibliographical news, and a photo gallery (especially of the conferences in Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia of the last two years). Perhaps one of the most interesting sections of this webpage is the one challengingly named “Debates”. Currently there is a lively debate going on, on whether there is such a thing as a Latin American Oral History. Another interesting service brought by RELAHO is the tab Cuéntame cómo fue (Tell me how it was) which contains a series of interviews with oral history practitioners, much in line with what has been successfully done by the COHA.
Thus, the RELAHO is a forum for discussion, communication, and information on all issues dealing with memory and oral documents, and the practice of oral history in Latin America. As such it has almost no limits and no restrictions, and all can participate. The only limitation is that of language: as the imagined users of the RELAHO are Spanish and/or Portuguese, it only accepts items in these languages.
RELAHO has three site administrators. For Central and North America the administrator is Gerardo Necoechea Gracia; for Brazil it is Robson Laverdi (; and for South America (Spanish speaking) it is Rubén Kotler. To access the site go to http://www.relaho.org/index



 
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