Reflection On Oral History

1301 Words6 Pages
In my contribution I would like to reflect on oral history from the perspective of recent debates regarding oral history as autobiography. Oral history has been increasingly recognized both in academia as outside as a valuable contribution to recording the historical experiences of ordinary people. It became a movement to reconstruct the past of people who historically have been excluded from historiography and by doing this historian gave them a share in writing their own history. Oral history, therefore, played an emancipating role in the democratization of historiography and served as a means for social and political empowerment. The founding father of British oral history, Paul Thompson in his book Voice of the Past underscores that oral history opened new areas of inquiry, challenged some of the assumptions and accepted judgments of historians, brought recognition to substantial groups of people who had before been ignored ' (Thompson). In the Caribbean oral history has been also used to document the history of the black working class– both men and women- who for long were ignored and silenced in history (Brother etc). In oral history, the focus is on interviewing as the researcher interviews individuals and collect their life testimonies and personal recollections about the past. As a method, it relies on the ability of the researcher to elicit information from the participant and requires interviewer skills of restraint and listening, as well as
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