A Sabanci University Student Reflects on Oral History

Mert İzcan was a student at the Sabancı University Cultural Studies Program, who conducted his oral history interview with an activist female student born in 1983, whom he met on the internet via friends. The excitement of talking with someone he didn’t know did not prevent Mert from questioning oral history. He shared the most challenging parts of his work with us, since “he could not betray the moment that the narrator reveals her soul.” Mert: “Why do I want to conduct this interview? Maybe I am also running away from life. I feel like the main purpose of oral history is to reconcile with the past and give meaning to it. To reconcile with the child that I was alienated from due to the things I object to. I can listen to the story of the ruptures, but I cannot understand her. One of the things I am concerned about is determining the flow of the conversation. I must be a listener. I must let her carry me away. But we should draw pictures in the places where she brings me. Where can we stay, and for how long? Will she let me wander around there? I must forget what everyone else says. I should not be afraid of being myself. Of breathing… There is nothing else that I can do other than being good in the moment.”