Practicing Oral History with Immigrant Narrators: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Practicing Oral History with Immigrant Narrators

1st Edition

By Carol McKirdy


177 pages

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pub: 2015-08-31
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In addition to the problem of language, conducting oral histories with immigrant narrators often requires special considerations: past violence, cultural sensitivity, and lack of trust. Yet, these narrators are often witnesses to, or participants in, important historical events, or can describe otherwise-undocumented social phenomena. The first book to focus specifically on oral history practices with immigrant narrators, it -gives both the novice and experienced oral historian insights into their narrators’ needs;-provides the tools to effectively plan and execute an oral history project in an immigrant community;-includes case studies, additional resources, and templates of important oral history processes.


"This most recent contribution to the publisher's 'Practicing Oral History Series,' written by the proprietor of an oral-history consulting firm, points out the special considerations of interviewing immigrants. The importance of awareness of cultural differences and trauma experienced by refugees, as well as the decision to use an interpreter, are all examined… Handbooks like this will ensure that the practice rests on a firm foundation of knowledge. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels."

CHOICE Reviews

"…by producing a text that outlines the issues one faces in interviewing immigrant narrators, she provides strategies to deal with these challenges, and, at the same time, explores some of the profound insights such interviews can create. McKirdy has done both the oral history community and immigrants an enduring service."

Anne Spry Rush, Oral History Review

Table of Contents

Foreword Preface 1. Introduction to Oral History 2. Working with the Immigrant Community 3. Trauma 4. Cultural Awareness 5. The Importance of Language 6. Using an Interpreter in an Oral History Interview 7. Using Images to Support Oral History Narrative 8. An Oral History Project Step by Step 9. Savan – A Case Study with an Immigrant Narrator Appendix A: Oral History Project Written Appendix B: Project Details, Field Notes, and Annotated Log Appendix C: Generic Introduction and Initial Interview Questions Appendix D: Trauma Support Services Appendix E: Networking: Organizations and Professional Associations Notes Glossary Further Reading Index About the Author

About the Author

Carol McKirdy is proprietor of the oral history company HistoryHerstory based in Sydney, Australia. She has conducted numerous oral history projects through universities, communities and societies, including an extensive project with Sudanese immigrant communities in Australia.

About the Series

Practicing Oral History

Oral history offers tremendous opportunities for interpreting the past and the increasingly complex present through the words of those who have lived it. The recorded interview, along with careful planning, solid background research, and archiving, form the basis of oral history methodology. Practitioners in public history, cultural heritage, library science, education, documentary, community activism, and local history groups wish to incorporate oral histories into their own work, and they need a road map for doing so.

The 'Practicing Oral History' series fills this gap. Titles consist of concise, instructive books that address the special circumstances of oral history within a specific user community. Each title provides practical tools for conducting and presenting an oral history project that interprets the best practices and ethical considerations of a particular context.

Ideas and proposals for new titles are welcome. Send queries to series editor Nancy MacKay, [email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Historiography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General