History Scholar

Oral History of Economic Features Is Neglected

Shima Donyadar Rostami
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


"Recently, oral history is used as a tool for contemporary history, and it can be cited in this field. Oral history is recognized as one of the pillars of the history of the people, a history that is mentioned and discussed with the approach of "Downstream history" (writing history from the lower levels of the society)”, said Hooria Saeedi, a scholar of history to the correspondent of the Iranian oral history site.

"In our society, where the oral history debate is a concept in its infancy, its startup process is of crucial importance and “interview” is the starting point of recording oral history. The type of communication that interviewers and interviewees establish (the interaction) is very important”, she said by stating that the oral history gaps in every society correspond to the issues prevailing and differ.

The author of "Memories and Hazards: Oral History Interview with Dr. Seyed Kumal Kharrazi" emphasized: "The approach to oral history recording cannot be directorial. No organization can genuinely take measures to record actual oral history through directorial approach. First a two-way, human relationship must be created between the interviewer and the interviewee, and then there are other issues such as questions, how to respond to each question, reactions to responses, rise of new questions after each response are to be addressed; it is the curious mind of the interviewer that should be engaged in the subject of the interview. "

"Explaining the characteristics of the oral history interviewer," she said: "Of course, not everybody can be an interviewer. The interviewer must be the one who is both well versed on the subject and have preliminary studies. Meanwhile, they should have strong social skills. These are the prerequisites of recording of oral history. Part of this introduction is acquired through training and some is acquisitive. The next step is transcription of the interview and then compilation which vary under different circumstances."

According to Saeedi, each type of compilation and production serves its value however the most important point is to preserve the most important information and data gained during the interview. In compilation and production, irrelevant information shall not dominate the bulk of it. In fact, footnotes in the oral history works shall not overcome the main content or affect it.

Author of “Shah va Jenab Agha” stated that as a result of training workshops held on the topic of oral history some gaps have been filled and continued: “The trainers in oral history workshops should be carefully selected from those who have worked in the field for long years. Generally, those who have been involved in compiling information in the field of oral history after the imposed war are more experienced and it is useful to present the type of oral history existing in Iran based on their work.”

According to this scholar of history, considering that political issues usually supersede other issues, the activities in the field of oral history of political features has been extensive; while the oral history of economic features has been neglected. Attending the political features has its own advantages but it does not cover the whole oral history.



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