Past, Present, and Oral History

Author of paper, Anirudh Deshpande (anirudh62@gmail.com) teaches at the University of Delhi.

Oral history is an aid to movements for social justice across the world. It is particularly significant in countries like India where literacy levels are low and where memories of the oppressed are routinely erased from public memory. This article questions the presumed superiority of the written over the oral. It presents a critique of “establishment” historiography and suggests that historians should adopt a receptive and balanced approach to different forms of history. Oral history reorients the historian’s craft in interesting ways. The oral history method is crucial for capturing histories that flourish outside the dominant narratives of modern societies.  Read full paper, plus comments here.

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