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Oral History: Theory and Practice

Semester and Year FA 2019
Course Number IDSEM-UG2034
Section 001
Instructor Sara Franklin
Days M
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM



History, as most of us are taught it in school, has long been written by, and for, the powerful. Oral history, while it has long been practiced informally, was developed as a formal academic approach and research method by scholars and activists in the mid-20th century in order to infuse and nuance history with the voices and histories of disempowered groups and peoples—people of color, women, indigenous communities, differently abled people, political radicals, laborers and the working poor, and the LGBTQ community. In this course, we'll engage in a critical assessment of the practice of oral history, with the goal of understanding the context of its origins and uses and examining the ethics and principles that shape it as a mode of research. We'll read and listen to exemplary oral history interviews by noted practitioners in the field, and practice analyzing oral histories by developing deep listening skills, attending carefully to what is being said, and what is omitted. As the capstone experience of the course, students will design, carry out, and analyze oral history interviews of their own.


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Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)