In recent years, some contemporary artists have used oral history methods as an integral part of their artistic practice. Oral history emerged in the United States as a distinct historical method with the establishment of the first organized oral history project in 1948 by Alan Nevin at Columbia University in New York. It gradually wrenched itself from its elitist origins of documenting stories of prominent white men to becoming a populist approach that draws attention to ordinary people’s lives, perceptions, and experiences of an event. Based on interviews conducted over a short period of time, oral histories’ primary contribution to the humanities is its concern for documenting the normally hidden histories and stories of marginalized social and cultural groups in our society. Oral history has gained acceptance as an invaluable means of understanding the complexities, contradictions and ambiguities of an historical moment. As a form of cultural production that transforms personal stories into public stories, oral history adds to our understanding of historical and social relations in society.
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