HUM 304 Conducting Oral History Interviews

Oral History interviewing is an incredibly gratifying experience, but having someone share their most cherished memories with you also comes with a lot of responsibilities. Through this course, you will learn interview techniques and best practices to sustain this work. You will learn about subjectivity and intersubjectivity, self-care for the interviewer, and how to frame questions so narrators can tell their story on their own terms. At the same time, you will learn to set professional boundaries to hold both you and your narrators with care.

Learning Objectives

By completing this course you will

  • Survey the best interview practices in the field of oral history;
  • Understand how to create historically contextualized interviews;
  • Learn about the theory of subjectivity and intersubjectivity;
  • Cultivate empathy for yourself to avoid burnout; and
  • Learn to create space for narrators to tell their stories on their own terms.

Contributors

Dr. Tiffany Puett

Executive Director
Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Dr. Elizabeth M. Melton

ACLS Leading Edge Fellow
American Council of Learned Societies and the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Eleonora Anedda MA

Oral Historian
Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Van Wagner


Institute for Diversity and Civic Life

Rimsha N. Syed

Program Coordinator
Institute of Diversity and Civic Life

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 ReligionAndPublicLife.org, 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).