Books

Laura Benadiba (ed.) Fundementos metolológicos para reconstruir el pasado desde la diversidad. Editorial SurAmericana: Rosario, 2010

[Laura Benadiba (ed.) Oral History. Methodological Foundations for Reconstructing the Past Through Diversity. Editorial SurAmericana: Rosario, 2010.]

Format: 16 x 24, 288 pp., Paperback
ISBN: 978-987-25939-0-2 (July 2010)

This publication is directed towards a wide spectrum of readers within the broad framework of social sciences: scholars, students and history teachers, researchers and the general public.

While the use of oral testimonies is not new in the work of historians, it’s systematic and reflective use is associated with the development of contemporary social history, and is generally more concerned with social processes and the lives of “common” people than descriptions of “important” events and the lives of prominent people. Nevertheless, we must avoid the confusion of believing that people who work with oral history are the ones who are “writing another history” or, as we often hear, “those who give voice to the voiceless.” If we assume that this role involves the risk of situating ourselves outside of history and observing from “above”, and if we don’t want oral history to become a means of “legitimizing” the official version of history from “the other side,” we must ask certain questions before starting to working with it: can history be created only with oral sources? Does a single interview conducted give us the right to claim we are investigating the situation of, for example, women workers during the Peronist regime? Can we obtain solid testimony without analyzing the historical context – both past and present – of the interviewee? What do we do when a certain testimony contradicts our hypothesis? Is oral history everything? Or, as Giovanni Levi asks in the foreword of this book, can controlled and rational knowledge be produced, beyond the emotional and sentimental aspects of the story told?

Raising these and other questions turned out to be an enriching exercise as did undertaking a research project that considered the use of this methodology. Beginning to recognize the particular characteristics of oral history has allowed us to simultaneously understand the limits of these sources while evaluating them for their “good” use in historical research.

Foreword by Dr. Giovanni Levi (Italy) 
Introduction by Laura Benadiba (Argentina)

CONTRIBUTORS: Pepe Monteagudo, Juan José Gutiérrez, Laura Capella, Stella Maris Orzuza, Diego Stechina, Cristina Viano, Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo, Rubén Isidoro Kotler, Ignacio Mendiola, Marcela Camargo Ríos, Jorge Salduondo y Ariel Lede, José Daniel Gil Zúñiga, Miren Llona, Niria Suárez, Marlene Bauste, Nilda Fabiola Rosales, Leonardo Ibarra Espinosa, Mirna Pizarro Morales, María Luisa Iglesias Hernández, Zandra Pérez Contreras y Xiomara Pamela Rodríguez.