Historical 'Authority' and the Value of the Oral Interview

History is an ancient and ever varying discipline whose practitioners continually redefine the parameters of what constitutes ‘history proper’. Indeed, the very notion that there exists proper techniques to investigate the past has been ridiculed into complete obscurity by most. Today in Canada and elsewhere, historians reconstruct a past based on their personal reflections with an expansive and diverse body of evidence. Genres and subfields have been developed which allow historians to further delve into the individual and collective human experience, in hopes of finding nuance in the past. But each historian reconstructs a version of the past using methodologies that are unique as well as common. Clio’s Current provides insight into contemporary issues using historical perspective, and to do so we must continually reassess our understanding of historical methodology. In today’s post we further investigate the research kit of the historian, with a focus on the oral history interview.

Read More