HUM 302 Oral History and Social Justice

Oral History is a tool for documenting and preserving marginalized stories that would otherwise go unheard. This course will teach you how to use oral history as a method and tool for social justice and social change. You will delve into the many ethical concerns of oral history projects and learn how to approach them with care, compassion, and trauma awareness. Finally, you will examine the work of influential scholars, practitioners, and projects to help you evaluate the many ways oral history may promote social change.

Learning Objectives

By successfully completing this course you will:

  • Understand the ways anti-oppression language and approaches inform  the field of oral history;
  • Analyze the ethical approaches used in oral history and the importance of sharing authority;
  • Evaluate foundational projects in the field and detail the best practices that will later inform your own methodology; and
  • Develop a critical lens for thinking about historical narratives and consider the significance of amplifying historically excluded voices.


Dr. Tiffany Puett

Executive Director
Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Dr. Elizabeth M. Melton

Public Engagement Director
Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Eleonora Anedda MA

Oral Historian
Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Van Wagner

Community Archive Director
Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Rimsha N. Syed

Program Coordinator
Institute of Diversity and Civic Life

Not Enrolled
$56 for a single course

Civic Education for the Common Good

We adhere to the best practices outlined by the Oral History Association.

In our research and curriculum design, we apply the four key elements of oral history work:
▸ Preparation
▸ Interviewing
▸ Preservation, and
▸ Access.

We apply the U.S. Department of Education’s Consensus Statements about Constitutional Approaches for Teaching about Religion

▸ Our approach to religion is academic, not devotional;
▸ We strive for student awareness of religions, but do not press for student acceptance of any religion;
▸ We sponsor the study about religion, not the practice of religion;
▸ We expose students to a diversity of religious views, but may not impose any particular view;
▸ We educate about all religions, we do not promote or denigrate any religion;
▸ We inform students about religious beliefs and practices, it does not seek to conform students to any particular belief or practice.

We apply the American Academy of Religion’s “Religious Literacy Guidelines”

▸ “Religious Literacy Guidelines for College Students.” American Academy of Religion, 2019.
▸ “Teaching About Religion: AAR Guidelines for K-12 Public Schools.” American Academy of Religion, April 2010.

Special Thanks

The Institute for Diversity and Civic Life’s certificate in oral history for social change was made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. Onboarding and technical support came from the staff of, thanks to funding from 1791 Delegates, The Foundation for Religious Literacy, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

The continuation of this work depends on contributions from generous supporters like you. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 47-3265073).