Article

Case Study: What is it That University-Based Oral History Can Do? The Berkeley Experience

Richard Cándida Smith

in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195339550
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195339550.013.0029

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Case Study: What is it That University-Based Oral History Can Do? The Berkeley Experience

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University-based oral history needs to undergo a transformation. The process of going out and interviewing people for first-hand knowledge of historical events is as old as the historical discipline itself. This article focuses on a case study on what university-based oral history can do when it comes to the study of oral history. Interviews continued to be one of the most important tools for historians studying recent topics, but oral history as practiced today had its beginnings in the early nineteenth century when researchers began compiling and preserving stenographic records of the interviews they carried out. Modern oral history has centered on making the words of the historical informants accessible, so that narrators can continue to speak of their experiences to subsequent generations. Oral sources have been an important part of scholarly life for the past two centuries because they have made visible forms of collective life that are difficult to document in other ways.

Keywords: case study; oral history; historical discipline; stenographic records; collective life

Article.  4404 words. 

Subjects: History ; Oral History

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