The Omani Oral History Project: Personal Experiences of the Omani Renaissance
In the spring of 2007, Dr. Olson gathered video interviews in Oman with Omani subjects on their impressions of the Omani Renaissance. Since 1970 the Sultanate of Oman has pursued a policy of selective modernization that by all indications has worked exceedingly well. Present day Oman, in an amazingly short period of time, has acquired most of the conveniences of a modern culture while maintaining the appearance and feel of a society rooted in tradition. The Omani Oral History Project documents the extraordinary changes of a society in the words of a generation that lived through significant intercultural transformation in the span of a lifetime and did so peacefully and successfully. The project consists of three phases: (1) The Oral History Interviews: Collecting and archiving the testimony of Omanis, (2) The Book Project: Editing interview materials into a narrative document, (3) The Video Project: Selective editing of interview materials as the basis for a documentary video production on the Omani Renaissance. Transcripts of interviews in Arabic and English will ensure access to a wide range of researchers. Researchers with Arabic language skills who wish to work with the primary materials may request DVD copies of the interviews. The paper will focus on the methodology and challenges of phase one—collection of the oral history interviews—and preliminary conclusions of phase two—book manuscript editing — which will be in progress at the time of the presentation.
Keywords: Oral History, Intercultural, Middle East
Dr. Charles Olson
Assistant Professor, Humanities