Analysis Of Oral History

684 words - 3 pages

“Oral history is a field of study and a method of gathering, preserving, and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events. Oral history is both the oldest type of historical inquiry, predating the written word, and one of the most modern, initiated with tape recorders in the 1940’s and now using 21st century digital technologies.” (Oral History Association). Oral history has not only been around for centuries it has continued to expand rapidly. Ronald J. Grele in his piece “Movement Without Aim” continuously argues about conservative historians relying on the traditional method of a textbook inquiry, his contradictions can become a complication to the readers.
In Grele’s article, he elaborates on historians welcoming a new subject of oral history, but is highly suspicious of the interpreted information. This begins to show that historians are not as open-minded as they should be. Grele states, “Despite this growth and the evidence that more and more historians are using the oral history interview in their own work, there has been little serious discussion of oral history by historians. The dominant tendency has to be overly enthusiastic in public print and deeply suspicious in private conversation” (Grele 38). Grele acknowledges that many historians are continuing to follow traditional tendencies, such as, textbook inquires and secondary sources. Grele demonstrates that this also shows that historians feel suspicious about oral history, because oral historians can be biased. The author states, “…evidence of skepticism about and doubt and distrust of oral history among professional historians-those paid to write and teach history” (Grele 38). In Grele’s article, he discusses how historians can show forms of bias with their work. This could also become a conflict in sharing inaccurate information when making discoveries. When unchecked, historians can become blind to their bias. They tend to focus on the subject of oral history being new information rather than expanding and validating their knowledge on the subject.
As readers continue further into the article, Grele begins to contradict himself...

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