XIXth International Oral History Conference

Oral history has been transformed into a new method using visual coverage of interviews. This paradigmatic shift essentially changed methodological and theoretical approaches. Visual information has a very strong impact on how the information of interviewed persons is received. Thus, for example, the ethical implications are even more complex compared to traditional oral history interviews.


Audio-visual interviews opened up a new sphere of interaction since these interviews refer to visuality and film language. Filmed interviews are often seen as sheer “talking head” coverage.

There is much more we can cover using the camera’s eyes, like showing body language, private and public sphere, photographs, artifacts, rooms, interactions etc. This opened up new dimensions for our interactions as historians generating life stories, and we are still in the process of learning how to listen “and” see.

Also Read : What is Oral History ?

We also have to reflect on how to transmit and analyze visual information of filmed interviews. It also depends on whether our product will be a text or a film (e.g. for exhibitions). This master class will give examples selected from my own work, and is open to experiments by and the needs of the 30 participants.

Instructor: Urvashi Butalia is the co-founder and CEO of Zubaan, an imprint of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house. She has had a long involvement with the women’s movement in India. Her areas of interest include partition and oral histories from a feminist and left-wing perspective. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (1998), which won the Oral History Book Association Award and the Nikkei Asia Award for Culture is her path-breaking study of the Partition of India.

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