Oral history can be broadly defined as the recording, preservation and/or interpretation of historical information, based on the narrators’ personal experiences and opinions.
As the anthropologist Dr. Lucine Tamanian points out, an oral historical narrative is the product of the process of remembering which is constantly reconstructed whereby some memories are silenced, others fade away, others are accentuated, and still others reworked. Memory is not a passive deposit of facts; rather, it is an active process of creating meaning. This process depends mainly upon the interest of the narrators and their willingness to remember. On the other hand, remembering can be prevented by unwillingness due to a conscious avoidance of distasteful facts or unconscious repression. Oral history is thus concerned with examining the “dynamic nature” of the process of remembering usually permeated with narrators’ silences, the intertwining of their past and present, their use of the past to interpret their world, and their sense of their historical consciousness.
Oral history can have a major role in analyzing patterns of change as they emerge in narrative form, as well as in probing the silences that fragment narratives and prevent the transmission of oral stories into popular as well as historical memory. The history of Amman’s old neighborhoods, their people, streets, schools, its orchards and Seil, as they live in people’s memory, was not documented except for the memoirs of ‘Abd al-Rahman Munif, The Biography of a City: Amman in the Forties.
Tales of Amman tells the socio-cultural history of Amman, narrated by its people and formed in dialogue between the narrators and the researchers.
Tales of Amman has been realized by the Institut Français de Jordanie (IFJ), the Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) and the Goethe-Institut Jordan in partnership with the National Library of Jordan and the Greater Amman Municipality and funded by the Franco-German Cultural Fund.
“TALES OF AMMAN” PROJECT TEAM
Project lead & Management:
Laura Hartz, Sophia Schall, Falestin Naili, Rawan al-Homaimat
Lead Oral History Expert: Dr. Lucine Taminian
Content Consultant: Sally Shalabi
Researchers: Nid’a al-Khazali & Arzaq Abu Eid
Project assistant: Wassim Al-Balkhy
Story Construction & Editing:
Sally Shalabi & Yamen Omer
Narrator: Sally Shalabi & People of al-Muhajieen
Sound Design & Engineering:
Mohammad Hijazi / Obsolete Studios
Design: Tawfiq Dawi
Pictures: Hussam Da’na
Collected and restored by Kelvin Bown
The National Library of Jordan & The Greater Amman Municipality,
Institut Français de Jordanie (IFJ), Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) and the Goethe-Institut Jordan.
Franco-German Cultural Fund, Goethe-Institut Jordan, Institut Français de Jordanie (IFJ)
Copyright: This publication is not for sale and is not intended for commercial use or profit.