Statement of Purpose
The purpose of the Iraqi Narratives Project is to document, preserve, and archive stories of the larger Iraqi community in the diaspora. This information will be used for different educational purposes to inform and educate not only Iraqis themselves but also the broader population, of the history of Iraq told by Iraqis themselves. We particularly want to document the journey of Iraqis from Iraq to their place of settlement and document how they lived through major political events in the history of Iraq.
The interview is recorded in audio or audio/video. Both parties – interviewer and interviewee – sign an agreement form before the interview is conducted. The agreement form ensures that everyone understands what will be done with the information (and by whom and who will listen to it) and that the ethical issues are covered in terms of the ownership of the material. A copy of the agreement form stays with each party. We will get in touch with you before the interview to discuss the logistics of the day of interview, the agreement form, and any concerns you might have.
The oral history “interview” is actually more of a conversation. You should feel comfortable to tell your narrative, story, and your recollection of events to our interviewers. There are not many pre-set questions or conditions. We are mainly interested in your story and what you deem to be important.
Why are we doing oral history documentation?
Oral history is about contributing real people’s stories to a specific historical record. Oral testimonies of first hand recollections helps us to reconstruct the past by capturing the voices of people who are left out of historical accounts. What it entails is the collection of primary source information through an interview with a person who participated in or witnessed an event or period of time. Oral history can also be a historical account of the person’s whole life, rather than a specific moment, and this can be used to understand social history. This way of collecting material allows us to penetrate into deeper meanings and implications of the historical past. Spoken histories are dynamic; they involve documenting not the just the particulars of an event but people’s reactions, feelings and thoughts about it. Oral histories complicates traditional narratives by adding the perspectives and interpretations of real people onto the working knowledge we have of a given topic.