American Lives, American History: Oral History and the Understanding of Social Change

History 100D

Spring 2015
Day & Time: 
TuTh 1230-2P

This course provides an introduction to oral history as a research method generating primary sources with distinctive information about the past.  Primary and secondary readings will help students explore the potential of oral history interviews to augment historical understanding, with focus on how social change marks the lives of those it touches, as reflected in the stories they are willing to share.  We will examine the ways in which memory and identity are continually changing responses to historic events and processes that are always simultaneously personal and collective.  Students will receive training in preparation, conduct, and analysis of interviews.  Students will conduct a short interview for the course and write a brief analysis of what they learned and what the record might contribute to historical understanding.

Course Books

The Voice of the Past by Thompson, Paul Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0192893178 Required
Recording Oral History by Yow, Valerie AltaMira Press. ISBN: 978-0759106550 Required
Philosophy of Social Science by Risjord, Mark Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415898256 Required
Anaconda by Mercier, Laurie University of Illinois Press. ISBN: 978-0252069888 Required
Hard Times by Terkel, Studs New Press. ISBN: 1565846567 Required