- The Oxford Handbook of Oral History
- Introduction: The Evolution of Oral History
- The Dynamics of Interviewing
- Those Who Prevailed and Those Who Were Replaced: Interviewing on Both Sides of a Conflict
- Interviewing in Cross-Cultural Settings
- Case Study: Oral History and Democracy: Lessons from Illiterates
- Memory and Remembering in Oral History
- Can Memory Be Collective?
- Case Study: Rome's House of Memory and History: The Politics of Memory and Public Institutions
- How Does One Win a Lost War? Oral History and Political Memories
- Disappointed Remains: Trauma, Testimony, and Reconciliation in Post-apartheid South Africa
- Case Study: Memory Work with Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa
- The Stages of Women's Oral History
- Race and Oral History
- Remembering in Later Life: Generating Individual and Social Change
- The Proust Effect: Oral History and the Senses
- After Action: Oral History and War
- Case Study: “Above all, we need the WITNESS”: The Oral History of Holocaust Survivor
- Case Study: Field Notes on Catastrophe: Reflections on the September 11, 2001, Oral History Memory and Narrative Project
- Doing Video Oral History
- Case Study: Opening Up Memory Space: The Challenges of Audiovisual History
- Achieving the Promise of Oral History in a Digital Age
- Oral History: Media, Message, and Meaning
- Messiah with the Microphone? Oral Historians, Technology, and Sound Archives
- Case Study: Between the Raw and the Cooked in Oral History: Notes from the Kitchen
- The Legal Ramifications of Oral History
- Ethical Challenges in the Oral History of Medicine
- The Archival Imperative: Can Oral History Survive the Funding Crisis in Archival Institutions?
- Case Study: The Southern Oral History Program
- Case Study: What is it That University-Based Oral History Can Do? The Berkeley Experience
- Toward a Public Oral History
- Motivating the Twenty-first-Century Student with Oral History
- Oral History in Universities: From Margins to Mainstream
- Case Study: Engaging Interpretation Through Digital Technologies
- Oral History in the Digital Age
Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on case studies in oral history with the backdrop of democracy and lessons learnt form illiterates. The “discovery” of illiteracy and its defining characteristics should be a main focus of oral history. The difficulties in reaching illiterates, the communication problems, and their frequent silences, especially in societies that have suffered civil wars and harsh political repression, challenge historians. The experience of interviewing them allows us to measure the degree to which the historian is anchored in the literate culture and complicit in the power of writing. This case study presents some results, a comparison between the samples, and the theoretical challenges about the role of democracy and illiteracy in situations of social and political upheaval. The research centers on proving that illiterates are not disruptive and that they show a moderate response. As a conclusion, future research is presented in the form of four conjectures which winds up this article.
Mercedes Vilanova is Catedrática emérita of contemporary history of the University of Barcelona, founding editor since 1989 of the journal Historia, Antropología y Fuentes Orales, and first president of the International Oral History Association. Her main publications use statistics, oral history, cartography, and classical historiography to deal with the democratic process, revolution and civil war during the 1930s in Catalonia, Spain.
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