Under its Oral History Program, the Foundation for Iranian Studies is compiling a record of the history of contemporary Iran through interviews with Iranian statesmen, diplomats, scholars, officials, artists, literary figures, newspaper editors, and other decision-makers as well as witnesses to the events that have shaped recent Iranian history. These memoirs are an invaluable resource for future scholars. The Foundation published a catalog of the archives entitled The Oral History Collection of the Foundation for Iranian Studies. The catalog, edited by Gholam Reza Afkhami and Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, contains the methodology of the Oral History Program, a list of interviews, major subjects discussed in each interview, indexes of names and subjects, several appendices and other relevant information. Since 1991, when the present catalog was published, new interviews have been completed, a list of which will be shortly included in this record.
The oral history collection on the web now consists of the original oral interviews but will gradually include also the transcripts of the interviews as they become ready for upload. Readers should bear in mind that both oral and transcribed material presented are products of informal conversations and that the interviewer, narrator, and editor have sought to preserve the informal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. The Foundation for Iranian Studies is not responsible for the factual accuracy of the memoirs or for the views expressed in the memoirs. We suggest that users read the background to and the methodology of the collection to gain deeper insight to the intellectual and practical framework of the interviews.
To listen to or to read the oral history interviews you must first apply for access in order to receive a password by clicking Apply for Access at the bottom of this page or of the page describing the specifications of the interview on the list of the interviews in the catalog.
Who Can Use the Collection?
The collection at the Foundation for Iranian Studies is open to all serious researchers. In most cases the bona fides of a researcher is established on the basis of his or her association with a university or a research institution. Independent researchers are granted access on an individual basis, usually by communicating with and presenting their credentials to the Foundation officers by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the Secretary, Foundation for Iranian Studies, 4343 Montgomery Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. The Foundation's telephone number is (301) 6571990.
Searching the Catalog
To search the Oral History Archives click "Search Catalog" in the catalog box to the right in this page. The search frame appears. In the search frame write the name of interviewee, for example "Amini," in the interviewee box, or write the subject you seek, for example "Armed Forces," in the Phrase in Entry's Abstratc box. In the first instance you are led to the interview with Amini. In the second instance you are led to all interviews in which the phrase "armed forces" appears in the abstratct of the interviews or in the indexes of the catalog, Note that the oral history archive may be searched only from within the oral history section. To look up a particular name or subject when you are reading a transcript, click edit at the top of the page and click find. Write the name or subject in the box. For a sense of in-depth discussion of a subject in particular interviews please consult also the subject and name indexes in the catalog by clicking on "Name Index" or "Subject Index" below in this page.