Article

Oral History in Universities: From Margins to Mainstream

Janis Wilton

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/9780195339550.013.0032

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Oral History in Universities: From Margins to Mainstream

Preview

This article chronicles the journey of oral histories from margins to the mainstream. Until the late 1970s oral history was something that happened only outside universities. When pursued within universities, it was considered a fairly unsophisticated method for research projects. The skepticism—though now both more refined and more filtered—and the commonsense view can still be found within universities. However, the growth in university oral history courses, research projects, archives and other activities, their diversity and innovative nature, and the burgeoning literature on the teaching of oral history in tertiary institutions all suggest that oral history has moved from the margins to the mainstream, and that it is recognized as grounded in complex and sophisticated theories and methods. This article aims, however, to provide an overview of key achievements, issues, strategies, and challenges, and to provoke thinking about ongoing and future issues, strategies, and concerns.

Keywords: oral histories; mainstream; archives; research projects

Article.  9156 words. 

Subjects: History ; Oral History

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