Iranian American Oral History Project:
Do you or your family have roots in Iran?
Do you currently, or have you ever, lived in Los Angeles?
Did you immigrate to the United States prior to or following the Iranian Revolution of 1979?
If so, I would love to talk to you!
Here are some topics I'd love to discuss with you:
- Early life in Iran
- Migrating and settling in the U.S. and Los Angeles
- Daily life in the U.S.
If you would like to contribute your experiences to my research on this topic,
or if you have any questions, please call (805) 669-6725 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you!
overview and goals
The Iranian American Oral History Project – Los Angeles was started in 2017 as a way of recording the experiences of Iranian Americans who migrated to the United States prior to or in the wake of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. As such, the oral histories collected are meant to give voice the experiences and memories of a variety of Iranian immigrants who settled in Los Angeles. Oral histories cover a range of topics, including life in Iran and Los Angeles, processes of and reasons for migration, challenges of setting in the U.S., family traditions, and conceptions of nationality, ethnicity, and race.
The purpose of this project is two-fold. First, it is meant to preserve the memories of the Iranian community in Los Angeles for future generations and other scholars studying the Iranian exilic and diasporic community. Second, the oral histories will be used in part to incorporate these voices in my dissertation on Iranian Americans in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. More specifically, my doctoral dissertation project asks what elements were central to the constructions of Iranian American identity from the mid-20th to early 21st century, and how were these processes reinforced and ruptured during the era. These oral histories are meant to enhance my archival research and incorporate perspectives and memories from those who lived through the era.
The Iranian American Oral History Project is headed by me, Ida Yalzadeh, a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Brown University. I record, process, and transcribe all interviews.
To learn more about the logistics of oral history collection and other frequently asked questions, please refer to "Oral History: What to Expect."
Oral histories that are a part of the Iranian American Oral History Project – Los Angeles are only audio recorded—no video will be taken. With each person consenting to interview (the narrator), we would ideally conduct the oral history over two sessions of 1-1.5 hours each. I have outlined the purpose of each session below:
Session One: The first hour-long session will consist of collecting the narrator's "life history" with some time spent on the themes listed in the "Overview and Goals" section. If narrators consent to record a second session, we will go over goals and materials needed at the end of this first session.
Session Two: The second hour-long session will incorporate the narrator's family album and family photographs. 15-25 minutes will be dedicated to an overview of the album as directed by the narrator, and the rest of the time will be dedicated to discussing 2-3 photographs that the narrator thinks are evocative of the points discussed in the first session. As such, the narrator will need to have an album and particular photographs selected before the session begins.
Please note: All oral histories are the shared property of the narrator and the interviewer. All narrators will sign release forms—a sample of which is below—prior to the oral history with the option to have all, some, or none of their interview preserved or shared. The narrator has full control over what they want to do with their recording.
For participating, all narrators will receive an audio CD of their oral history to keep and share with family and friends, as well as high-quality scans of select photographs from their family album.