What is oral history and how does it contribute to our knowledge of the past?
This course explores the theory, methodology, and practice of oral history. We will begin by considering how verbal testimonies have been used to enrich and expand historical narratives by including the voices of previously marginalized groups. Why were these perspectives ignored or silenced in the first place? How might we assess the accuracy or trustworthiness of these perspectives?
We will cover a variety of topics including the special legal and ethical considerations of human-centered research, interviewing techniques, archival preservation, technology, editing, interpretation, and presentation. Class discussions will move beyond the discipline of history to consider how oral testimonies are utilized in a variety of fields including journalism, public policy, and education. Students will develop skills in research, interviewing, and scholarly analysis and they will emerge with an individualized project that utilizes oral history interviews as a source of evidence.