Coming from the Outside In: Being an Outsider in Oral Interviews

Sandra Marie Borger


Oral interviews are a highly valuable source of primary information in the discipline of history. This is especially true in cases where minorities and those who have been silenced in the past are being examined. While there exists a large group of oral historians that interview members of their own community and therefore understand all the cultural cues, symbols and rules, it is much different for an 'outsider' to do the same. Using first hand experiences from the field, this paper will examine the ways in which an outsider can gain permission to enter into a close-knit community and achieve the respect and acceptance of both participants and the broader community through feminist research methods.


oral history; interviewing; ethnicity; feminist methodology

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The Graduate History Review EISSN 1925-2455

Formerly Preteritus: 2009-2010