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Date:         Mon, 3 Feb 2003 10:01:06 -0500
Reply-To:     "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History"
              
Sender:       "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History"
              
From:         Linda Shopes 
Subject:      Opening Statement from Linda Shopes
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Greetings, and welcome to this historymatters forum on oral history.  I
look forward to hearing what you have to say over the next few weeks,
and talking with you about it.  I am also curious about electronic
conversations =96 what works, what makes for a good conversation =96 so
I=92ll be thinking about that, too, as we carry on our discussion.

Let me begin by saying that oral history is a maddeningly imprecise
term.  It refers to both the process of conducting an interview and the
product that results from it.  The former opens up questions of
method; the latter, issues of interpretation.  I hope we=92ll consider both
here.

In terms of method:  while some use the term "oral history" to mean
any oral communication about the past - from the highly formulaic
accounts of community tradition-bearers to informal conversations
about "the old days" around the holiday table - for historians the term
generally means a self-conscious and disciplined inquiry, a structured
exchange between an interviewer, who has certain questions about
the past, and an interviewee, or narrator, who has had certain
experiences with {or in} that past {say, the civil rights movement or the
Reagan presidency or immigration to the United States} and whom
the interviewer thinks has something of value to say in response to
these questions.

It seems like a simple enough process, and in some ways it is =96 what
could be more natural than talking with another person about a
subject of mutual interest?  But there=92s a lot more to conducting an
interview than simply turning on the tape recorder and asking the
narrator to "tell me about your life."   If that question doesn=92t result i=
n
blank stares or the puzzled rejoinder, "Well, what do you want to
know?",  it will likely produce meandering, scattered reminiscences
that don=92t add up to much.  Doing an oral history interview, in other
words, requires careful preparation, skillful questioning, and attentive
follow up.  What kind of preparation can you do to help ensure a good
interview?  What=92s a good interview anyway?  How do you cultivate
rapport with a narrator and stimulate extensive recall?  What do you do
after an interview to bring closure to the exchange and ensure its
usefulness?  These are some the questions we can discuss here.

And what about the second sense of the term "oral history," the
product that=92s produced?  Insofar as an interview is a conversation for
the record, it=92s a process that results in the creation of a source, a
source that =96 like all sources =96 needs to be interpreted with the
historian=92s critical skill.   How do we judge the reliability of a narrato=
r=92s
account of the past?  How do we assess its accuracy?    How can we
trust an individual=92s memory?  What happens when narrators=92
accounts differ, or they don=92t jibe with the written record?

Yet an interview is also a unique source:  it=92s created by two people in
dialogue with one another, the narrator=92s questions eliciting certain
answers, which then result in more =96 perhaps unexpected =96
questions, and on and on.  The mindset or frame of reference each
party brings to the exchange, what each considers of historical
significance, thus shapes or underlies the substance of what is said.
Indeed, in some ways an interview is about the narrator and
interviewer talking across their differences, trying to find common
ground, trying to understand each other.  It=92s also shaped by who the
narrator and interviewer are, their social identities and their
relationship outside the framework of the interview.  Thus frequently
there are differences in the ways women and men tell their stories in
an interview; and differences in the kind of stories a male or female
interviewer may elicit from a given narrator; or in what a person will tell
a family member or an outsider.

An interview is also a conversation in the present about the past.  An
interviewer=92s questions are inevitably shaped by their current interests;
a narrator=92s response by the perspective gained since the events
under discussion took place.  Thus, an elderly veteran=92s war stories
may be rendered as the greatest adventure of his life; or as a
cautionary tale about the evils of war; or in any number of other ways.

In these and other ways, then, I=92d suggest that an oral history interview
is a highly subjective source; and it=92s our job, as students, teachers,
and scholars, to decode this subjectivity, if you will, to not take an
interview at face value but subject it to critical scrutiny.   An interview =
is
not a simple fact-finding mission =96 a simple exercise in finding out
what the old days were like; an interview is a highly crafted story, as a
narrator puts experience into works, compressing years of living into a
few minutes or hours of talk, making sense of their experience in
crafted, creative, meaningful =96 if not always narrowly "accurate" =96
ways.   My own formulaic way of making sense of an interview is to
ask:  who is talking to whom about what, for what purpose, and under
what circumstance.  I=92ve expanded upon these ideas in my essay
"Making Sense of Oral History," available at the historymatters website
at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/oral/.  I hope we can talk about
some of these interpretive questions in relation to your specific
projects and interviews.

One final thought before turning over the forum to you:  Oral history is a
good way to get out of the classroom or the library and involved in what
is called public history.   Insofar as an interview is a conversation
about the past between a student of history and someone for whom
"history" is lived experience and not an academic study, it is inherently
public.   That conversation can open outward, in a publication,
dramatic production, community forum, website, or any of the other
creative ways historians in classrooms and communities are using
oral history to transform academic inquiry and private exchanges into
public discussions about the content, meaning, and value of the past.
Of course that process raises all sorts of questions too:   What stories
are made public and who gets to tell them?  What happens when a
narrator=92s view of the past differs from the historian=92s?  How can we
keep a conversation going, after the interview has been done, the
website=92s been developed, the book written?

I=92ll stop here =96 now it=92s your turn.

=96Linda Shopes

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.
=========================================================================
Date:         Wed, 5 Feb 2003 12:19:54 -0800
Reply-To:     "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History"
              
Sender:       "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History"
              
From:         Eric Chase 
Subject:      Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes
In-Reply-To:  
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Hey all,

Hopefully to get some dialog started in the midst of our busy lives...

I interviewed a woman who was born and raised in a timber camp in Western Washington in the late teens and early twenties.  She remembers the Wobblies and thought her father was one, though she doesn't recall her father ever outright saying as much.  Political and labor discussions were "men's talk" and it was only later she realized that her father was either a member or at least a sympathizer.  Some of her information was a bit different from my own research.  Her dates were a bit conflicting and she didn't remember some events that I would consider significant.  I don't think that this detracted from the interview in the slightest.  I feel that after 80 or 90 years, she had an incredible memory and filled in details that you would never find in history books.  Did anyone know that these wobblies helped build things (like porches, toys, fences...) for nearby families while holding down the picket lines?

The desrepencies in ideas and opinions of the day is also a bit problematic.  What I mean by this is that she didn't recall hearing about the Centralia Massacre until decades later.  Is this because in her community women were not included in political discussion or was it because she was just to young to be included?  Wa she just uninterested at the time?  Or had she forgot she had known?  The idea that anyone remotely involved with the IWW knew what was going on only a few miles away seems highly probable.  Even if we were to conduct interviews today for a hypothetical future history project; lets say the possible war with Iraq, we would find all sort of different perceptions about what is real and what is not real.  We will find those who don't know where Iraq is on the globe and those who can follow the rise of power of Saddam.  I've unfortunately have come across students who say we should bomb Iraq because they bombed the World Trade Centers, they are communists and that they have threatened to use nuclear weapons on us.

Oral histories add life and detail, sometimes precise and sometimes merely examples of our own humanity, well informed, oblivious, insightful and petty.

Eric Chase

South Puget Sound Community College





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This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.
--0-2071056453-1044476394=:32147
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Hey all,

Hopefully to get some dialog started in the midst of our busy lives...

I interviewed a woman who was born and raised in a timber camp in Western Washington in the late teens and early twenties.  She remembers the Wobblies and thought her father was one, though she doesn't recall her father ever outright saying as much.  Political and labor discussions were "men's talk" and it was only later she realized that her father was either a member or at least a sympathizer.  Some of her information was a bit different from my own research.  Her dates were a bit conflicting and she didn't remember some events that I would consider significant.  I don't think that this detracted from the interview in the slightest.  I feel that after 80 or 90 years, she had an incredible memory and filled in details that you would never find in history books.  Did anyone know that these wobblies helped build things (like porches, toys, fences...) for nearby families while holding down the picket lines?

The desrepencies in ideas and opinions of the day is also a bit problematic.  What I mean by this is that she didn't recall hearing about the Centralia Massacre until decades later.  Is this because in her community women were not included in political discussion or was it because she was just to young to be included?  Wa she just uninterested at the time?  Or had she forgot she had known?  The idea that anyone remotely involved with the IWW knew what was going on only a few miles away seems highly probable.  Even if we were to conduct interviews today for a hypothetical future history project; lets say the possible war with Iraq, we would find all sort of different perceptions about what is real and what is not real.  We will find those who don't know where Iraq is on the globe and those who can follow the rise of power of Saddam.  I've unfortunately have come across students who say we should bomb Iraq because they bombed the World Trade Centers, they are communists and that they have threatened to use nuclear weapons on us. 

Oral histories add life and detail, sometimes precise and sometimes merely examples of our own humanity, well informed, oblivious, insightful and petty.

Eric Chase

South Puget Sound Community College

 



Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-2071056453-1044476394=:32147-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 13:09:33 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Meg Woods Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Disposition: inline Alessandro Portelli has done a lot of research in Hazard County, Kentucky, = (and in Italy) and finds the same phenomena you describe--an emphasis in = the oral histories on events historians don't know about and an absence of = information about events historians consider crucial. His book The Battle = of Valle Giulia makes a compelling case about why. For example, about = time, he writes that conventional history breaks it into events whereas = someone living it would place all of the events on a continuum. About = social perceptions he would argue that we understand "the law" as X (a = just sytem of order, say), but a Wobbly might understand the law as the = sheriff with the gun. Historians tend to think people act as ideologues, = when maybe they are just fighting to save their families and livelihoods. = The emphasis dramatically changes the interpretation. Etc. Meg Woods Columbia Basin College >>> erricco64@YAHOO.COM 02/05/03 12:19PM >>> Hey all, Hopefully to get some dialog started in the midst of our busy lives... I interviewed a woman who was born and raised in a timber camp in Western = Washington in the late teens and early twenties. She remembers the = Wobblies and thought her father was one, though she doesn't recall her = father ever outright saying as much. Political and labor discussions were = "men's talk" and it was only later she realized that her father was either = a member or at least a sympathizer. Some of her information was a bit = different from my own research. Her dates were a bit conflicting and she = didn't remember some events that I would consider significant. I don't = think that this detracted from the interview in the slightest. I feel = that after 80 or 90 years, she had an incredible memory and filled in = details that you would never find in history books. Did anyone know that = these wobblies helped build things (like porches, toys, fences...) for = nearby families while holding down the picket lines? The desrepencies in ideas and opinions of the day is also a bit problematic= . What I mean by this is that she didn't recall hearing about the = Centralia Massacre until decades later. Is this because in her community = women were not included in political discussion or was it because she was = just to young to be included? Wa she just uninterested at the time? Or = had she forgot she had known? The idea that anyone remotely involved with = the IWW knew what was going on only a few miles away seems highly = probable. Even if we were to conduct interviews today for a hypothetical = future history project; lets say the possible war with Iraq, we would find = all sort of different perceptions about what is real and what is not real. = We will find those who don't know where Iraq is on the globe and those = who can follow the rise of power of Saddam. I've unfortunately have come = across students who say we should bomb Iraq because they bombed the World = Trade Centers, they are communists and that they have threatened to use = nuclear weapons on us. Oral histories add life and detail, sometimes precise and sometimes merely = examples of our own humanity, well informed, oblivious, insightful and = petty. Eric Chase South Puget Sound Community College --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at = http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. = History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 10:04:18 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Noonan, Ellen" Subject: Please Resend your Messages Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit Hello Oral History Forum Participants, The mail server computer that keeps this forum functioning went down last night and just now came back up. It seems that about twelve hours worth of messages were lost, so if you posted any messages to the group since 8:00 pm last (Wednesday) night, please resend them. Many thanks, Ellen -- Ellen Noonan American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning The Graduate Center, City University of New York 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11 New York, NY 10016 enoonan@gc.cuny.edu http://www.ashp.cuny.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 11:35:25 -0500 Reply-To: cpitton@ae21.org Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Charity Pitton Subject: Tips for students MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit I teach an integrated high school course that combines history and English, and try to have my students conduct some oral history interviews - with a WWII vet, with someone who grew up sharecropping, etc. Some of their results have been great, some have been pretty dry. I'm sure a portion of this is just due to who they've been able to find to interview (when they're required to find someone). But I know that part of it is that they aren't really sure what to be doing. I have no training in oral history, but I would suppose there is a vast body of knowledge out there among the recipients of this listserv. What tips would you give my students? What are the basics they should know or be able to do? On a related issue: Are there ethical issues that make it wrong for untrained students to conduct this kind of interview? I would assume not, but... I know in archaeology students would need basic knowledge before heading out to do field research. Ms. Shopes brought up an interesting point I will be interested to use with my students: How are your perceptions and presumptions coloring what happens/happened in the interview? The next step of this: How, then, are your perceptions and presumptions affecting our record of "what happened" and thus in effect creating history? An interesting point to perhaps help them to remember to read information critically, and to recall that there are numerous sides to every story, even in history. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 14:16:31 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Cynthia Lee Patterson Subject: Re: Tips for students Comments: To: cpitton@ae21.org MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Charity, At New Century College, our first year students participate in a year-long project called "Discovery: Reading a Life," that includes an oral history interview. Students enroll in four six week long, eight-credit courses, interdisciplinary and integrative in nature, to satisfy most of their general education requirements at the university. I'm including a link to the URL for the online syllabus for the first course in the series, "The Community of Learners." The site includes a project description, writing prompts, etc.: http://classweb.gmu.edu/nclc110/f02/assignments-02.html New Century College is a small college-within-a-college at George Mason University organized around a learning community environment that promotes student centered, discovery based learning, collaborative teaching, a competency-based curriculum, and a heavy focus on experiential learning opportunities. Since this project is part of the first year curriculum, I think you might find the online materials useful for thinking about the kinds of materials you might want to provide to your high school students. Best of luck with your course! cp Charity Pitton wrote: > I teach an integrated high school course that combines history and > English, and try to have my students conduct some oral history > interviews - with a WWII vet, with someone who grew up sharecropping, > etc. Some of their results have been great, some have been pretty dry. > I'm sure a portion of this is just due to who they've been able to find > to interview (when they're required to find someone). But I know that > part of it is that they aren't really sure what to be doing. > > I have no training in oral history, but I would suppose there is a vast > body of knowledge out there among the recipients of this listserv. What > tips would you give my students? What are the basics they should know or > be able to do? > > On a related issue: Are there ethical issues that make it wrong for > untrained students to conduct this kind of interview? I would assume > not, but... I know in archaeology students would need basic knowledge > before heading out to do field research. > > Ms. Shopes brought up an interesting point I will be interested to use > with my students: How are your perceptions and presumptions coloring > what happens/happened in the interview? The next step of this: How, > then, are your perceptions and presumptions affecting our record of > "what happened" and thus in effect creating history? An interesting > point to perhaps help them to remember to read information critically, > and to recall that there are numerous sides to every story, even in > history. > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. -- Cynthia Patterson Doctoral Candidate in Cultural Studies Internship Coordinator/Instructor/Academic Advisor New Century College/English Department MSN 5D3, George Mason University 4400 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030-4444 703-993-4518 http://culturalstudies.gmu.edu http://mason.gmu.edu/~cpatter3 This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 14:46:47 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Matthew S. Young" Organization: Marietta College Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Hello all-- I found Meg and Eric's initial postings quite stimulating, because they shed light on a problem many of my students have with a "family history" project I assign in my Modern US survey. The project requires students to interview a family member about a particular event/time period (eg growing up in the Depression), and then place that experience in a national context. I find that students (like some successful professional historians) will try to bend the oral histories to fit an archetypical experience (or even a range of such experiences) rather than handle the rather messy fact that there are as many histories as there are participants (direct and indirect). I think it raises some really important questions regarding the way historians (students and professionals alike) view their task. I was wondering if listmembers could provide other work along the line of Alessandro Portelli's that deal with the various ways people perceive time, change, causality. Matt Young Marietta College ----- Original Message ----- From: "Meg Woods" To: Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 4:09 PM Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes > Alessandro Portelli has done a lot of research in Hazard County, Kentucky, (and in Italy) and finds the same phenomena you describe--an emphasis in the oral histories on events historians don't know about and an absence of information about events historians consider crucial. His book The Battle of Valle Giulia makes a compelling case about why. For example, about time, he writes that conventional history breaks it into events whereas someone living it would place all of the events on a continuum. About social perceptions he would argue that we understand "the law" as X (a just sytem of order, say), but a Wobbly might understand the law as the sheriff with the gun. Historians tend to think people act as ideologues, when maybe they are just fighting to save their families and livelihoods. The emphasis dramatically changes the interpretation. Etc. > > Meg Woods > > Columbia Basin College > > > >>> erricco64@YAHOO.COM 02/05/03 12:19PM >>> > > Hey all, > > Hopefully to get some dialog started in the midst of our busy lives... > > I interviewed a woman who was born and raised in a timber camp in Western Washington in the late teens and early twenties. She remembers the Wobblies and thought her father was one, though she doesn't recall her father ever outright saying as much. Political and labor discussions were "men's talk" and it was only later she realized that her father was either a member or at least a sympathizer. Some of her information was a bit different from my own research. Her dates were a bit conflicting and she didn't remember some events that I would consider significant. I don't think that this detracted from the interview in the slightest. I feel that after 80 or 90 years, she had an incredible memory and filled in details that you would never find in history books. Did anyone know that these wobblies helped build things (like porches, toys, fences...) for nearby families while holding down the picket lines? > > The desrepencies in ideas and opinions of the day is also a bit problematic. What I mean by this is that she didn't recall hearing about the Centralia Massacre until decades later. Is this because in her community women were not included in political discussion or was it because she was just to young to be included? Wa she just uninterested at the time? Or had she forgot she had known? The idea that anyone remotely involved with the IWW knew what was going on only a few miles away seems highly probable. Even if we were to conduct interviews today for a hypothetical future history project; lets say the possible war with Iraq, we would find all sort of different perceptions about what is real and what is not real. We will find those who don't know where Iraq is on the globe and those who can follow the rise of power of Saddam. I've unfortunately have come across students who say we should bomb Iraq because they bombed the World Trade Centers, they are communists and that they have threatened to use nuclear weapons on us. > > Oral histories add life and detail, sometimes precise and sometimes merely examples of our own humanity, well informed, oblivious, insightful and petty. > > Eric Chase > > South Puget Sound Community College > > > > > > --------------------------------- > Do you Yahoo!? > Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 15:30:47 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Roy Rosenzweig Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes In-Reply-To: <00d701c2ce18$7c7e8ac0$1306f4ce@marietta.edu> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed Mime-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v543) Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit I have tried to engage this problem directly in my survey course by asking students to relate their interview to a generalization in a historical work and talk about whether it confirms, challenges, or modifies that generalization. I find that this sometimes helps to focus them and it also helps with what i find one of the hardest problems in oral history assignments--how to grade them. I would be interested in other thoughts on the grading issue. Roy On Thursday, February 6, 2003, at 02:46 PM, Matthew S. Young wrote: > Hello all-- > > I found Meg and Eric's initial postings quite stimulating, because > they shed > light on a problem many of my students have with a "family history" > project > I assign in my Modern US survey. The project requires students to > interview > a family member about a particular event/time period (eg growing up in > the > Depression), and then place that experience in a national context. I > find > that students (like some successful professional historians) will try > to > bend the oral histories to fit an archetypical experience (or even a > range > of such experiences) rather than handle the rather messy fact that > there are > as many histories as there are participants (direct and indirect). I > think > it raises some really important questions regarding the way historians > (students and professionals alike) view their task. > > I was wondering if listmembers could provide other work along the line > of > Alessandro Portelli's that deal with the various ways people perceive > time, > change, causality. > > Matt Young > > Marietta College > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Meg Woods" > To: > Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 4:09 PM > Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes > > >> Alessandro Portelli has done a lot of research in Hazard County, >> Kentucky, > (and in Italy) and finds the same phenomena you describe--an emphasis > in the > oral histories on events historians don't know about and an absence of > information about events historians consider crucial. His book The > Battle > of Valle Giulia makes a compelling case about why. For example, about > time, > he writes that conventional history breaks it into events whereas > someone > living it would place all of the events on a continuum. About social > perceptions he would argue that we understand "the law" as X (a just > sytem > of order, say), but a Wobbly might understand the law as the sheriff > with > the gun. Historians tend to think people act as ideologues, when > maybe they > are just fighting to save their families and livelihoods. The emphasis > dramatically changes the interpretation. Etc. >> >> Meg Woods >> >> Columbia Basin College >> >> >>>>> erricco64@YAHOO.COM 02/05/03 12:19PM >>> >> >> Hey all, >> >> Hopefully to get some dialog started in the midst of our busy lives... >> >> I interviewed a woman who was born and raised in a timber camp in >> Western > Washington in the late teens and early twenties. She remembers the > Wobblies > and thought her father was one, though she doesn't recall her father > ever > outright saying as much. Political and labor discussions were "men's > talk" > and it was only later she realized that her father was either a member > or at > least a sympathizer. Some of her information was a bit different from > my > own research. Her dates were a bit conflicting and she didn't > remember some > events that I would consider significant. I don't think that this > detracted > from the interview in the slightest. I feel that after 80 or 90 > years, she > had an incredible memory and filled in details that you would never > find in > history books. Did anyone know that these wobblies helped build things > (like porches, toys, fences...) for nearby families while holding down > the > picket lines? >> >> The desrepencies in ideas and opinions of the day is also a bit > problematic. What I mean by this is that she didn't recall hearing > about > the Centralia Massacre until decades later. Is this because in her > community women were not included in political discussion or was it > because > she was just to young to be included? Wa she just uninterested at the > time? > Or had she forgot she had known? The idea that anyone remotely > involved > with the IWW knew what was going on only a few miles away seems highly > probable. Even if we were to conduct interviews today for a > hypothetical > future history project; lets say the possible war with Iraq, we would > find > all sort of different perceptions about what is real and what is not > real. > We will find those who don't know where Iraq is on the globe and those > who > can follow the rise of power of Saddam. I've unfortunately have come > across > students who say we should bomb Iraq because they bombed the World > Trade > Centers, they are communists and that they have threatened to use > nuclear > weapons on us. >> >> Oral histories add life and detail, sometimes precise and sometimes >> merely > examples of our own humanity, well informed, oblivious, insightful and > petty. >> >> Eric Chase >> >> South Puget Sound Community College >> >> >> >> >> >> --------------------------------- >> Do you Yahoo!? >> Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now >> >> This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site >> at > http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. > History. >> >> This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site >> at > http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. > History. > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site > at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. > History. > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 17:34:44 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Walker, Melissa A." 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IFUuUy4NCgk+IEhpc3RvcnkuDQoJPg0KCQ0KCVRoaXMgZm9ydW0gaXMgc3BvbnNvcmVkIGJ5IEhp c3RvcnkgTWF0dGVycy0tcGxlYXNlIHZpc2l0IG91ciBXZWIgc2l0ZSBhdCBodHRwOi8vaGlzdG9y eW1hdHRlcnMuZ211LmVkdSBmb3IgbW9yZSByZXNvdXJjZXMgZm9yIHRlYWNoaW5nIFUuUy4gSGlz dG9yeS4NCgkNCg0K ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 20:11:20 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Aurora Levins Morales Subject: Re: Tips for students MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Hi-- I was lead historian for the Oakland Museum of California's Latino=20 History Project, which trained highschool students to conduct oral histories= =20 with Latino elders, do additional research and then create an exhibit,=20 educational posters and a website (currently being updated). We're finishin= g=20 up the case study of the three year project, but it has a detailed=20 curriculum. I found that students usually needed some help with the=20 interviews, but we spent a lot of time workshopping the various kinds of=20 problems that could come up, uses of open ended and closed questions, how to= =20 guide the flow of the conversation and elicit stories, and also how to keep=20 the interview subject on track without being rude. They did a lot of=20 practice before going into the field, and we debriefed together after each=20 interview. Myself or another historian always accompanied them. In the=20 practice interview we gave them a sheet with a few scraps of information=20 about the subject, had several of them do the interview, and then critiqued=20 it as a group. That helped a lot.=20 We talked about how to handle stories that suddenly become very=20 emotional--when peopel share very painful or intense events in their lives,=20 or at the other end, people who want to hold forth to young people about the= =20 lessons of their lives, but have a hard time telling any story at all. I=20 emphasized that an oral history is in some ways a very intimate conversatio= n=20 and that they needed to find ways to build connection with the subject, to=20 overcome their shyness enough to show interest and probe for details. I als= o=20 taught them to begin with grandparents and parents, dates and places of=20 birth, marriage, migration and death, and occupations, as relatively=20 straightforward factual items to warm up with and be sure they were done wit= h=20 each one before moving on to the next. I also had them always ask about=20 childhood in detail. Informants' own sense of what is most significant=20 about their story may not match ours. We spoke with one man who had founded= =20 a Latino soccer league in the 1950s. But he was also an eye witness to the=20 Mexican Revolution, joined a circus at ten, and worked as a migrant worker i= n=20 California in the 1920s and 30s. We only found this out by being systematic= =20 and going through his parents' life stories. Another man had been a railroa= d=20 worker. His wife mentioned something about "that was before the union came=20 in." He had not thought it worth mentioning until we asked, that he was the= =20 man responsible for unionizing the Southern Pacific yard. What he was most=20 proud of was the fact that his children had all gotten educations. That he=20 had exposed and ended a system of extortion and kickbacks that required=20 Mexican railroad workers to pay inflated prices for rotten food, didn't loom= =20 anywhere near as large to him. But for the students it was a critical piece= =20 of historical information. So I'd say practice a lot, be systematic with=20 questions and work on building rapport. If you send me an address I'll let=20 you know when the case study becomes available. Aurora Levins Morales ****************************************************************************= ** *********** Praise for Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of=20 Puertorrique=F1as=20 by Aurora Levins Morales, South End Press 2001 "Captivating language and enticing cadence are characteristics of the =20 enchanting prose Levins Morales employs in this gathering of uniquely=20 realized vignettes...Exciting melange of stories ultimately affirming the=20 empowerment of women." Booklist "There is no other book like Remedios. It is history, anthropology, poetry,= =20 and myth; it is a song and a prayer. Aurora Levins Morales is a Jewish Latin= a=20 curandera who embraces diverse legacies with passion and eloquence. In=20 stories so beautifully told they soar off the page...she offers us remedies=20 that heal our bodies and souls and feed our spirits of our many forgotten=20 ancestors." Ruth Behar, author of The Vulnerable Observer And for Telling To Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios by the Latina Feminist=20 Group (Duke, 2001) "Telling to Live may be one of the most important books published in the las= t=20 few decades. Latinas collectively have not had a book like this before that=20 features so many different backgrounds and cultures...The inclusion of all=20 these mix-and-match identifications is what makes this book required readin= g=20 in women's studies classes all across the globe." Jocelyn Climent, in Bust Coming soon! Shema: Writings on Love and War is an original and probing=20 exploration of integrity and betrayal, violence and reconciliation,=20 sexuality, masculinity, shame and power, from the global to the intimately=20 personal, as she weaves together war in the Middle East with the sudden=20 disintegration of her marriage as the result of her husband's midlife crisis= =20 affair with a much younger woman. Spoken word CD and book. CD available now=20 at RemediosCenter@aol.com This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 21:27:59 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Dr. Frank L. Frable Jr." Organization: Home Account Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Hi Linda, Your web site flashed on my screen courtesy of my daughter. My initial impression was here is a site primarily for all those interested in history. It appears now that the responses are from history professors, high school history and English teachers. Could this be your target audience? It is worthwhile to read of the experiences these teachers have experienced. For one from the "boonies" struggling to write his own family history and autobiography, it would be nice to hear commentary from those doing a similar project. Trying to avoid the vagaries of seventy five years of memories along with revisionism that constantly creep in because of wishful thinking challenges one in this twilight endeavor. Fortunately, sibs, older and younger, help with their oral rendition of the family history. For as many sibs that exist, there are that many variations of the "history of the same event. I hope there will be responses from persons undertaking this similar family history project. Frank l. Frable ----- Original Message ----- From: Linda Shopes To: Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 10:01 AM Subject: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes > Greetings, and welcome to this historymatters forum on oral history. I > look forward to hearing what you have to say over the next few weeks, > and talking with you about it. I am also curious about electronic > conversations - what works, what makes for a good conversation - so > I'll be thinking about that, too, as we carry on our discussion. > > Let me begin by saying that oral history is a maddeningly imprecise > term. It refers to both the process of conducting an interview and the > product that results from it. The former opens up questions of > method; the latter, issues of interpretation. I hope we'll consider both > here. > > In terms of method: while some use the term "oral history" to mean > any oral communication about the past - from the highly formulaic > accounts of community tradition-bearers to informal conversations > about "the old days" around the holiday table - for historians the term > generally means a self-conscious and disciplined inquiry, a structured > exchange between an interviewer, who has certain questions about > the past, and an interviewee, or narrator, who has had certain > experiences with {or in} that past {say, the civil rights movement or the > Reagan presidency or immigration to the United States} and whom > the interviewer thinks has something of value to say in response to > these questions. > > It seems like a simple enough process, and in some ways it is - what > could be more natural than talking with another person about a > subject of mutual interest? But there's a lot more to conducting an > interview than simply turning on the tape recorder and asking the > narrator to "tell me about your life." If that question doesn't result in > blank stares or the puzzled rejoinder, "Well, what do you want to > know?", it will likely produce meandering, scattered reminiscences > that don't add up to much. Doing an oral history interview, in other > words, requires careful preparation, skillful questioning, and attentive > follow up. What kind of preparation can you do to help ensure a good > interview? What's a good interview anyway? How do you cultivate > rapport with a narrator and stimulate extensive recall? What do you do > after an interview to bring closure to the exchange and ensure its > usefulness? These are some the questions we can discuss here. > > And what about the second sense of the term "oral history," the > product that's produced? Insofar as an interview is a conversation for > the record, it's a process that results in the creation of a source, a > source that - like all sources - needs to be interpreted with the > historian's critical skill. How do we judge the reliability of a narrator's > account of the past? How do we assess its accuracy? How can we > trust an individual's memory? What happens when narrators' > accounts differ, or they don't jibe with the written record? > > Yet an interview is also a unique source: it's created by two people in > dialogue with one another, the narrator's questions eliciting certain > answers, which then result in more - perhaps unexpected - > questions, and on and on. The mindset or frame of reference each > party brings to the exchange, what each considers of historical > significance, thus shapes or underlies the substance of what is said. > Indeed, in some ways an interview is about the narrator and > interviewer talking across their differences, trying to find common > ground, trying to understand each other. It's also shaped by who the > narrator and interviewer are, their social identities and their > relationship outside the framework of the interview. Thus frequently > there are differences in the ways women and men tell their stories in > an interview; and differences in the kind of stories a male or female > interviewer may elicit from a given narrator; or in what a person will tell > a family member or an outsider. > > An interview is also a conversation in the present about the past. An > interviewer's questions are inevitably shaped by their current interests; > a narrator's response by the perspective gained since the events > under discussion took place. Thus, an elderly veteran's war stories > may be rendered as the greatest adventure of his life; or as a > cautionary tale about the evils of war; or in any number of other ways. > > In these and other ways, then, I'd suggest that an oral history interview > is a highly subjective source; and it's our job, as students, teachers, > and scholars, to decode this subjectivity, if you will, to not take an > interview at face value but subject it to critical scrutiny. An interview is > not a simple fact-finding mission - a simple exercise in finding out > what the old days were like; an interview is a highly crafted story, as a > narrator puts experience into works, compressing years of living into a > few minutes or hours of talk, making sense of their experience in > crafted, creative, meaningful - if not always narrowly "accurate" - > ways. My own formulaic way of making sense of an interview is to > ask: who is talking to whom about what, for what purpose, and under > what circumstance. I've expanded upon these ideas in my essay > "Making Sense of Oral History," available at the historymatters website > at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/oral/. I hope we can talk about > some of these interpretive questions in relation to your specific > projects and interviews. > > One final thought before turning over the forum to you: Oral history is a > good way to get out of the classroom or the library and involved in what > is called public history. Insofar as an interview is a conversation > about the past between a student of history and someone for whom > "history" is lived experience and not an academic study, it is inherently > public. That conversation can open outward, in a publication, > dramatic production, community forum, website, or any of the other > creative ways historians in classrooms and communities are using > oral history to transform academic inquiry and private exchanges into > public discussions about the content, meaning, and value of the past. > Of course that process raises all sorts of questions too: What stories > are made public and who gets to tell them? What happens when a > narrator's view of the past differs from the historian's? How can we > keep a conversation going, after the interview has been done, the > website's been developed, the book written? > > I'll stop here - now it's your turn. > > -Linda Shopes > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 21:33:43 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Jennifer Block Subject: Re: Opening Statement from Linda Shopes MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit >I am a Language Arts instructor and I always try to impart to my students that the "truth" can only be ascertained when all perspectives, points of view are compiled. Obviously we can never fully acheive this but we must make the effort... perhaps "truth" is less important than the educative qualities full perspectives offer. Oral histories are important, I think, not as matter of confirming dates or facts but as adding to perceptions... Ofcourse, memory is distortive but I'm not sure any more distortive than any one historians allaying of the "facts." I encourge my students to use interviews in their research as a means of gaining perspective... I, myself am in constant awe of the "pieces of history" I receive from both my youngest and oldest students. In regards to the woman whose father was a IWW sympathizer or member I was reminded of my own father. He had been one of the top ten commercial artists in NYC back in the l950's. He was also an instructor of Marxist Education and active at the original Jefferson School. I so wish I had asked more questions and gathered more data... but, alas, I only have small pieces of history passed down to me orally... and from these pieces I have knowledge I might never have quite understood so well... Perhaps this forum will motivate me to gather the many histories my students write each day... Oral history, the difference between qualitative and quantitaive perhaps? Jennifer Block Daylight/Twilight HS Trenton, NJ __________________________________________________________________ The NEW Netscape 7.0 browser is now available. Upgrade now! http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp Get your own FREE, personal Netscape Mail account today at http://webmail.netscape.com/ __________________________________________________________________ The NEW Netscape 7.0 browser is now available. Upgrade now! http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp Get your own FREE, personal Netscape Mail account today at http://webmail.netscape.com/ This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 00:56:25 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Linda Shopes Subject: talking about oral history MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="part1_7a.37db432b.2b74a489_boundary" --part1_7a.37db432b.2b74a489_boundary Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_7a.37db432b.2b74a489_alt_boundary" --part1_7a.37db432b.2b74a489_alt_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Thanks to Eric Chase and Meg Woods for plunging into this forum on oral history and to the rapidly expanding group of discussants for picking up on various discussion threads. So far, there seems to be a comfortable balance between interest in the "how to's," the basics, of oral history and the broader, interpretive issues. I'd like to keep discussion of both of these dimensions of oral history on the virtual table, since they are deeply interconnected - how one conducts an interview, the questions one asks, the way one asks them, the social and intellectual vantage points from which one approaches an interview, cannot, after all, be separated from the responses elicted, the stories told, the perspectives and points of view presented. Let me try to interject a few summary comments here. First, as Chase, Matt Young, Aurora Levins Morales, and others suggest, the categories narrators use to make sense of their personal experiences and the categories historians use to organize an understanding of the past indeed are frequently not congruent. This insight, it seems to me, suggests how oral history can open up a much broader discussion with students of the nature of historical knowledge in very concrete ways: the contingency of historians' explanations, the limitations of a single perspective, the differences between history as "what happened" and what we say about what happened, the sheer messiness of historical explanations. These are tough concepts to wrap one's mind around in the abstract; confronted with an interview, stacking it up against a work of scholarship, they begin to click in. Woods refers to the work of Alessandro Portelli, who indeed is one of the most thoughtful commentators on the inherently subjective nature of oral narratives. In his frequently cited essay, "The Death of Luigi Trastulli" (in a book with nearly the same title), Portelli makes the important point that narrators' errors of fact may speak to larger truths, may tell us more about their mental worlds, than a simple recitation of facts. Another thoughtful commentator on this issue is Michael Frisch, especially his A Shared Authority: Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History (and see especially his review of Terkel's Hard Times, for an important discussion of what we might term social memory.) But several respondants have also made the very good point that interviews are not only or simply exercises in subjectivity; they often do fill in historians' pictures of the past with new information and enriching details. And, again to refer to Chase, he reminds us, as he talks about his students' views of Iraq, of how misinformed many are about "what happened." There is, indeed, a great deal of popular ignorance about the past - and a popular reification of "personal experience" as the ultimate authority. So, I think it is important not to simply adopt an "all points of view are equal" persepctive about oral history interviews, but to stack up perceptions against known facts, and attempt to explain why these discrepencies exist. I also think it is interesting to try to open up these discrepencies within the context of an itnerview itself, to ask narrators, when their account doesn't jibe with others - narrators or historians - to explain the differences. Not every narrator can rise to these sorts of evaluative questions, and they need to be asked in a way that is not confrontational or disrespectful; but it seems to me worth trying to make explicit within an itnerview the kinds of interpretive questions we might bring to it, to give narrators a chance to "explain themselves," to comment on their own accounts. Second, several have asked for practical advice, for tips and resources. Ms. Morales gives a good account of her work with high school students. To oversimplify, I think there are three stages to a good interview: careful preparation, including doing background research on the topic/s at hand and developing an outline, or game plan, for an interview; skillful questioning, which is a combination of learned techniques, communications skills, creative intuition, and practice; and careful follow up, that is, making something of the interview - making sense of it, and making it useful to others, whether by transcribing it to enhance accessability, archiving it, or presenting it in some public way. I'm attaching a list of on-line resources for doing oral history; I developed it some months ago and some of the links may not be functioning, but some might find it useful. My essay, "Making Sense of Oral History," referenced in my initial posting, also includes a bibliogrpahy of both manuals and more theoretical work in oral history. H-Oralhist, the listserv sponsored by the Oral History Association and affiliated with H-NET, is a wonderful forum for sharing resources, getting advice, discussing one's work. In just the last week there has been a thoughtful discussion of precisely the sort of ethical question Charity Pitton raises about sending untrained students out to do interviews. The disucsison focused on having perhaps well intentioned but naive and uninformed students do interviews with Holocaust survivors, perhaps opening up memories that the student is unprepared to handle. There's no pat answer here except preparation, practice - and mature judgment on the part of the teacher. Finally, Roy asks about grading. For me the biggest difficulty is the time involved in actually listening to the tapes my students produce - I think it's important to listen to the entire tape, and as a result, I don't assign as many interviews as I would like. I also assign two grades to each interview: one for how well the student has conducted the interview (not how "good" the narrator is - though how good s/he is is often related to how good the interviewer is), and one for what the student makes of the interview as a historical document. That's all for now - keep the discussion rolling and I'll be back in a couple of days. --Linda Shopes This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_7a.37db432b.2b74a489_alt_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Thanks to Eric Chase and Meg Woods for plunging into t= his forum on oral history and to the rapidly expanding group of discussants=20= for picking up on various discussion threads.  So far, there seems to b= e a comfortable balance between interest in the "how to's," the basics, of o= ral history and the broader, interpretive issues.  I'd like to keep dis= cussion of both of these dimensions of oral history on the virtual table, si= nce they are deeply interconnected - how one conducts an interview, the ques= tions one asks, the way one asks them, the social and intellectual vantage p= oints from which one approaches an interview, cannot, after all, be separate= d from the responses elicted, the stories told, the perspectives and points=20= of view presented.  Let me try to interject a few summary comments here= . 

First, as Chase, Matt Young, Aurora Levins Morales, and others suggest, the=20= categories narrators use to make sense of their personal experiences and the= categories historians use to organize an understanding of the past indeed a= re frequently not congruent.  This insight, it seems to me, suggests ho= w oral history can open up a much broader discussion with students of the na= ture of historical knowledge in very concrete ways: the contingency of histo= rians' explanations, the limitations of a single perspective, the difference= s between history as "what happened" and what we say about what happened, th= e sheer messiness of historical explanations.  These are tough concepts= to wrap one's mind around in the abstract; confronted with an interview, st= acking it up against a work of scholarship, they begin to click in.

Woods refers to the work of Alessandro Portelli, who indeed is one of the mo= st thoughtful commentators on the inherently subjective nature of oral narra= tives.  In his frequently cited essay, "The Death of Luigi Trastulli" (= in a book with nearly the same title), Portelli makes the important point th= at narrators' errors of fact may speak to larger truths, may tell us more ab= out their mental worlds, than a simple recitation of facts.  Another th= oughtful commentator on this issue is Michael Frisch, especially his A Sh= ared Authority: Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History (and see especially his review of Terkel's Hard Times, for an impo= rtant discussion of what we might term social memory.)   But sever= al respondants have also made the very good point that interviews are not on= ly or simply exercises in subjectivity; they often do fill in historians' pi= ctures of the past with new information and enriching details.  And, ag= ain to refer to Chase, he reminds us, as he talks about his students' views=20= of Iraq,  of how misinformed many are about "what happened."  Ther= e is, indeed, a great deal of popular ignorance about the past - and a popul= ar reification of "personal experience" as the ultimate authority.  So,= I think it is important not to simply adopt an "all points of view are equa= l" persepctive about oral history interviews, but to stack up perceptions ag= ainst known facts, and attempt to explain why these discrepencies exist.&nbs= p;

I also think it is interesting to try to open up these discrepencies within=20= the context of an itnerview itself, to ask narrators, when their account doe= sn't jibe with others - narrators or historians - to explain the differences= .  Not every narrator can rise to these sorts of evaluative questions,=20= and they need to be asked in a way that is not confrontational or disrespect= ful; but it seems to me worth trying to make explicit within an itnerview th= e kinds of interpretive questions we might bring to it, to give narrators a=20= chance to "explain themselves," to comment on their own accounts.

Second, several have asked for practical advice, for tips and resources.&nbs= p; Ms. Morales gives a good account of her work with high school students.&n= bsp; To oversimplify, I think there are three stages to a good interview:&nb= sp; careful preparation, including doing background research on the topic/s=20= at hand and developing an outline, or game plan, for an interview; skillful=20= questioning, which is a combination of learned techniques, communications sk= ills, creative intuition, and practice; and careful follow up, that is, = ; making something of the interview - making sense of it, and making it usef= ul to others, whether by transcribing it to enhance accessability, archiving= it, or  presenting it in some public way. 

I'm attaching a list of on-line resources for doing oral history; I develope= d it some months ago and some of the links may not be functioning, but some=20= might find it useful.  My essay, "Making Sense of Oral History," refere= nced in my initial posting, also includes a bibliogrpahy of both manuals and= more theoretical work in oral history.  H-Oralhist, the listserv spons= ored by the Oral History Association and affiliated with H-NET, is a wonderf= ul forum for sharing resources, getting advice, discussing one's work. = In just the last week there has been a thoughtful discussion of precisely t= he sort of ethical question Charity Pitton raises about sending untrained st= udents out to do interviews.  The disucsison focused on having perhaps=20= well intentioned but naive and uninformed students do interviews with Holoca= ust survivors, perhaps opening up memories that the student is unprepared to= handle.  There's no pat answer here except preparation, practice - and= mature judgment on the part of the teacher.

Finally, Roy asks about grading.  For me the biggest difficulty is the=20= time involved in actually listening to the tapes my students produce - I thi= nk it's important to listen to the entire tape, and as a result, I don't ass= ign as many interviews as I would like.  I also assign two grades to ea= ch interview:  one for how well the student has conducted the interview= (not how "good" the narrator is - though how good s/he is is often related=20= to how good the interviewer is), and one for what the student makes of the i= nterview as a historical document.

That's all for now - keep the discussion rolling and I'll be back in a coupl= e of days.  --Linda Shopes
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAA= --part1_7a.37db432b.2b74a489_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 10:02:32 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Noonan, Ellen" Subject: link for Linda Shopes' list of resources Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit Because the forum software will not distribute attachments, I have posted the list of web-based oral history resources that Linda mentioned at: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/ashp/ohwebresources.html Ellen -- Ellen Noonan American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning The Graduate Center, City University of New York 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11 New York, NY 10016 enoonan@gc.cuny.edu http://www.ashp.cuny.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 13:28:26 -0200 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Donna Sharer Subject: Re: talking about oral history MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit I teach at a neighborhood high school in Philadelphia, PA. Last year I included oral history in two class projects. I learned a few things from the process. The first project was about our school. The school was moved from one neighborhood to another neighborhood in 1957. The school at its "old" location was an all boys, integrated (about 50% African American) high school. At its new location, it was a co-ed. nearly 100% European American high school (there were 6 African American students out of a student body of about 3300). (Yes, this is post Brown v. Board). Most of our research was a Temple's Urban Archives (thanks to the archivist!). We used census data, school board minutes, newspaper articles, school newspaper / yearbooks, etc. We were able to interview 13 men who graduated from the "old" school in the 1950s. We found there were very different perceptions of the school and why the school was moved. We concluded the school was probably moved because the neighborhood (and feeder neighborhoods) of the old school was "changing" racially / ethnically and the student body was becoming more diverse. The school was one of the most prominent schools in the city and had powerful alumni who "made the move" happen. The African American men who were interviewed (3) said the decision was based on race. The European American who lived neared the school also blamed it on race and politics. The European Americans from feeder neighborhoods liked the idea of moving the school. One reason is many families who lived in the feeder neighborhoods were moving to the area of the city where the "new " school was located. Anyway... the students worked in teams. They asked each interviewee the same questions (this was required by the administration because the project was "controversial.") Students summarized the interviews. (I didn't make them do an actual transcript because of the time/ lack of equipment. To be honest, the project was very time consuming and stressful but in the end, the students, including the reluctant students, were proud of their accomplishments.) I learned it is important for me to listen to the tapes. Next time I will do it with each group vs. on my own because they didn't always catch subtle comments or make connections between questions. When we put together our final project, we didn't directly address the findings. Students agreed the alumni disagreed and though we came up with our conclusions based on other documents, we didn't spend enough time thinking through why the alumni perceived the move differently. The second project was on the Cold War. Again, we used Temple Univ. Urban Archives. The project included the Cold War in Phila. so students interviewed family members / neighbors / teachers about their memories of the Cold War. We also found some neat things about our school. (Our school has a separate magnet program - my students aren't part of it. The magnet program received funding in 1963 as part of the post Sputnik science funding for an aerospace program.) The project was an attempt to have multiple perspectives of the Cold War. Students interviewed people who had lived in the US and outside the US. (I had a number of ESL students in the class.) We developed a class list of questions. My problem with this project is some of the statements made by people were factually incorrect. Some of the people who grew up in the US, especially those who weren't at least 65 or 70, didn't know much about the Cold War. (This may be a reflection on history education in the US.) In our final project, I cut the inaccurate statements. I told the students why but some asked, "well, if this is their experience, why don't we include it?" I'd like to hear other pre collegiate teachers' ideas on including oral history and logistics. I'm working on a follow-up project on our school this year. I'd like to try something with 9th graders about world events in the 1980s. (Yes, they were born in 1987 - 1988!) It is a World History class. Donna Phila., PA This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 15:30:35 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Thomas Murray Subject: High School Oral History I have done two Oral History Projects over the last three semesters. My Drop Out Prevention class on The History of the Vietnam War published books of Oral History last fall and this fall. This fall we added an Oral History video to the work. I am currently working on an Oral History of how our school community has changed over the last 40 years or so staying specifically on lifestyles, diversity, transportation, music and development (our beaches). The Vietnam War Oral Histories were an amazing success. We used email interviews, class guests and private in depth one on one interviews. Each student does one of each type of interview. We use the Oral History as the core curriculum and compare what we learn to established historical perspectives. I thought the Vietnam war work was hard but am learning it is far easier than doing Oral History of our community. The Vietnam work has a built in focus and a relatively easy to find audience. The diversity of interviews grows with experience. We've interviewed the typical soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force veterans but we've added to that with CIA pilots, Red Cross Donut Dollies, South Vietnamese soldiers, North Vietnamese high school students during 1971 and even an SDS campus aggitator. The variety emphasizes one thing over and over. War is a horrible thing and we better know what we're doing before we send our youth off to die. The exciting thing for me is that my Drop Out Prevention kids have learned to hate school over the years. They expect to fail. This personal Oral History changes a lot of that for the kids. They learn the personal side, frequently with a lot of emotion, and their interest in school and learning comes back to life. Their pride when they see their picture and their name listed as an author is such a special moment. Best of all we have a breakfast celebration with the whole school in attendance so each student can present a book to each local veteran and say those special words, "WELCOME HOME and thanks for everything you did for our freedom". I'm currently working on my PhD in Social Science Ed witha dissertation on Oral History re-engaging At-Risk kids. Tom Murray This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 09:33:10 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Linda Shopes Subject: follow up on recent postings MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_c3.301426e7.2b77c0a6_boundary" --part1_c3.301426e7.2b77c0a6_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit A few comments on the most recent postings - first, I am enormously impressed and encouraged by the creative work in oral history being done at the high school level. Tom Murray is right in suggesting how doing an interview with a participant in history can reenergize students. It connects them with their community, opens up tough qustions about not only the past but the present, gives them pride in doing something tangible, visible to others. Donna Sharer is also right that doing a classroom oral history project is very labor intensive, not to be undertaken casually. Donna's idea that students should listen to and evaluate interviews in groups is a good one, I think; I've always found it useful, when teaching interviewing technique, to have the class listen to excerpts of existing interveiws - not necessarily those that are esp. bad or good, just typical interviews - and critique them. That brings home the abstractions of "leading questions, "follow up," etc. Donna also talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I'd be curious to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic. One of the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bringing broad historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - what sort of questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold War - or any generalization - in a meaningful way? Anyone have any thoughts on this, examples to post to the list? Finally there's Donna's comment that her students questioned her cutting inaccurate statements from the final project on the grounds that "if this is their experience, why dont' we include it?" Previous postings have sugge sted, quite rightly, that "inaccuracies" perhaps speak to larger truths. Here perhaps the "larger truth" is what I rather facetiously refer to as the oprah-fication of American culture: the absolute reification of "personal experience" above all other forms of knowing. How have others handled this problem? --Linda This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_c3.301426e7.2b77c0a6_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable A few comments on the most recent postings - first, I=20= am enormously impressed and encouraged by the creative work in oral history=20= being done at the high school level.  Tom Murray is right in suggesting= how doing an interview with a participant in history can reenergize student= s.  It connects them with their community, opens up tough qustions abou= t not only the past but the present, gives them pride in doing something tan= gible, visible to others.  Donna Sharer is also right that doing a clas= sroom oral history project is very labor intensive, not to be undertaken cas= ually. 

Donna's idea that students should listen to and evaluate interviews in group= s is a good one, I think; I've always found it useful, when teaching intervi= ewing technique, to have the class listen to excerpts of existing interveiws= - not necessarily those that are esp. bad or good, just typical interviews=20= - and critique them.  That brings home the abstractions of "leading que= stions, "follow up," etc. 

Donna also talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I'= d be curious to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic.=   One of the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bringi= ng broad historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - wh= at sort of questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold=20= War - or any generalization - in a meaningful way?  Anyone have any tho= ughts on this, examples to post to the list?

Finally there's Donna's comment that her students questioned her cutting ina= ccurate statements from the final project on the grounds that "if this is th= eir experience, why dont' we include it?"  Previous postings have sugge= sted, quite rightly, that "inaccuracies" perhaps speak to larger truths.&nbs= p; Here perhaps the "larger truth" is what I rather facetiously refer to as=20= the oprah-fication of American culture:  the absolute reification of "p= ersonal experience" above all other forms of knowing.  How have others=20= handled this problem?  --Linda

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_c3.301426e7.2b77c0a6_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 20:20:41 -0200 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Donna Sharer Subject: Re: follow up on recent postings MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=--__JNP_000_4e50.0e7d.691e This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible. ----__JNP_000_4e50.0e7d.691e Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit I'd like to add to Tom Murry's "plug" for oral history energizing students. The high school I teach at has tracking - I teach the students who aren't selected for honors / rapid / AP / magnet classes. The students that were the most enthusiastic on the school project were four young men who were often disruptive / argumentative / etc. In the middle of the project one was placed in a "special" after school program. So, ALL students benefit from oral history! Regarding the Cold War project - these are the questions - 1. When and where were you born? Where did you grown up? 2. What important political events do you remember from your lifetime? Why were these events important to you? 3. What important economic events do you remember from your lifetime? Why were these events important to you? 4. What important social changes do you remember from your lifetime? Why were these events important to you? 5. How would you define the Cold War? 6. What were you told about the Cold War in school? 7. Do you think the Cold War affected you? Why or why not? 8. Did you learn about other countries while you were in school? Which countries? What did you learn about them? 9. Do you think how you look at other people or countries has changed since the Cold War? 10. How has your life changed since the Cold War? 11. What do you think we can learn from the Cold War? I should clarify what I meant by "incorrect" information. Students interviewed people who grew up in the US and outside of the US (Caribbean, Eastern Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America. Some of the people gave incorrect information re: alliances / wars / dates. We didn't change anything about their opinion / experiences. We also didn't change their definition of the Cold War. What I found the most interesting is what they learned in school and lessons from the Cold War. This was an opportunity to not only discuss perspectives but also the term "enemy." Many people shared their memories of the "evil empire," fear of the Soviets, etc. Two people were from the former Soviet Union and they had stories about the "evil" US. (The purpose of the project was to produce a booklet for teachers to use in teaching multiple perspectives about the Cold War. I included many lessons plans - it is 70 pages. We also included local history - our school's connection to the Cold War, articles from local papers on fall out shelters, political debates, etc.) I'm enjoying the discussion! Donna On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 09:33:10 EST Linda Shopes writes: A few comments on the most recent postings - first, I am enormously impressed and encouraged by the creative work in oral history being done at the high school level. Tom Murray is right in suggesting how doing an interview with a participant in history can reenergize students. It connects them with their community, opens up tough qustions about not only the past but the present, gives them pride in doing something tangible, visible to others. Donna Sharer is also right that doing a classroom oral history project is very labor intensive, not to be undertaken casually. Donna's idea that students should listen to and evaluate interviews in groups is a good one, I think; I've always found it useful, when teaching interviewing technique, to have the class listen to excerpts of existing interveiws - not necessarily those that are esp. bad or good, just typical interviews - and critique them. That brings home the abstractions of "leading questions, "follow up," etc. Donna also talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I'd be curious to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic. One of the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bringing broad historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - what sort of questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold War - or any generalization - in a meaningful way? Anyone have any thoughts on this, examples to post to the list? Finally there's Donna's comment that her students questioned her cutting inaccurate statements from the final project on the grounds that "if this is their experience, why dont' we include it?" Previous postings have suggested, quite rightly, that "inaccuracies" perhaps speak to larger truths. Here perhaps the "larger truth" is what I rather facetiously refer to as the oprah-fication of American culture: the absolute reification of "personal experience" above all other forms of knowing. How have others handled this problem? --Linda This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ----__JNP_000_4e50.0e7d.691e Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
I'd like to add to Tom Murry's "plug" for oral history energizing=20 students.  The high school I teach at has tracking - I teach the = students=20 who aren't selected for honors / rapid / AP / magnet classes.  The = students=20 that were the most enthusiastic on the school project were four young men = who=20 were often disruptive / argumentative / etc.  In the middle of the = project=20 one was placed in a "special" after school program.  So, ALL students= =20 benefit from oral history!
 
Regarding the Cold War project - these are the questions -
 
1.  When and where were you born?  Where did you grown up?
2.  What important political events do you remember from your=20 lifetime?  Why were these events important to you?
3.  What important economic events do you remember from your=20 lifetime?  Why were these events important to you?
4.  What important social changes do you remember from your=20 lifetime?  Why were these events important to you?
5.  How would you define the Cold War?
6.  What were you told about the Cold War in school?
7.  Do you think the Cold War affected you?  Why or why=20 not?
8.  Did you learn about other countries while you were in=20 school?  Which countries?  What did you learn about them?
9.  Do you think how you look at other people or countries has = changed=20 since the Cold War?
10.  How has your life changed since the Cold War?
11.  What do you think we can learn from the Cold War?
 
I should clarify what I meant by "incorrect" information.  = Students=20 interviewed people who grew up in the US and outside of the US (Caribbean,= =20 Eastern Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America.   Some = of=20 the people  gave incorrect information re: alliances / wars / dates.&= nbsp;=20 We didn't change anything about their opinion / experiences.  We also= =20 didn't change their definition of the Cold War.  What I found the most= =20 interesting is what they learned in school and lessons from the Cold War.&= nbsp;=20 This was an opportunity to not only discuss perspectives but also the term= =20 "enemy."  Many people shared their memories of the "evil empire," = ;=20 fear of the Soviets, etc.  Two people were from the former Soviet = Union and=20 they had stories about the "evil" US. (The purpose of the project was = to=20 produce a booklet for teachers to use in teaching multiple perspectives = about=20 the Cold War.  I included many lessons plans - it is 70 pages.  = We=20 also included local history - our school's connection to the Cold War, = articles=20 from local papers on fall out shelters, political debates, etc.) 
 
I'm enjoying the discussion!
Donna
 
On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 09:33:10 EST Linda Shopes <Lshopes@AOL.COM> writes:
A few comments on the most recent postings - first, = I am=20 enormously impressed and encouraged by the creative work in oral history = being=20 done at the high school level.  Tom Murray is right in suggesting = how=20 doing an interview with a participant in history can reenergize=20 students.  It connects them with their community, opens up tough = qustions=20 about not only the past but the present, gives them pride in doing = something=20 tangible, visible to others.  Donna Sharer is also right that doing = a=20 classroom oral history project is very labor intensive, not to be = undertaken=20 casually. 

Donna's idea that students should listen to and=20 evaluate interviews in groups is a good one, I think; I've always found = it=20 useful, when teaching interviewing technique, to have the class listen to= =20 excerpts of existing interveiws - not necessarily those that are esp. bad= or=20 good, just typical interviews - and critique them.  That brings home= the=20 abstractions of "leading questions, "follow up," etc. 

Donna= also=20 talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I'd be = curious=20 to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic.  One= of=20 the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bringing broad=20 historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - what = sort of=20 questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold War - or= any=20 generalization - in a meaningful way?  Anyone have any thoughts on = this,=20 examples to post to the list?

Finally there's Donna's comment that= her=20 students questioned her cutting inaccurate statements from the final = project=20 on the grounds that "if this is their experience, why dont' we include=20 it?"  Previous postings have suggested, quite rightly, that=20 "inaccuracies" perhaps speak to larger truths.  Here perhaps the "= larger=20 truth" is what I rather facetiously refer to as the oprah-fication of = American=20 culture:  the absolute reification of "personal experience" above = all=20 other forms of knowing.  How have others handled this problem? = =20 --Linda

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please = visit=20 our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for = teaching=20 U.S. History.
 
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ----__JNP_000_4e50.0e7d.691e-- ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 22:10:56 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Pete Haro Subject: Re: follow up on recent postings Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary="MS_Mac_OE_3127673457_205232_MIME_Part" > THIS MESSAGE IS IN MIME FORMAT. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible. --MS_Mac_OE_3127673457_205232_MIME_Part Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit Dear Forum: In response to Linda's posting, I too would like to see or have suggestions in developing some kind of "how to" list for getting students to do more oral history assignments. How would such an assignment be graded? What parameters would have to be set up and enforced? Practical questions such as this need to be addressed. Pete Haro. ---------- From: Linda Shopes To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU Subject: follow up on recent postings Date: Sun, Feb 9, 2003, 6:33 AM A few comments on the most recent postings - first, I am enormously impressed and encouraged by the creative work in oral history being done at the high school level. Tom Murray is right in suggesting how doing an interview with a participant in history can reenergize students. It connects them with their community, opens up tough qustions about not only the past but the present, gives them pride in doing something tangible, visible to others. Donna Sharer is also right that doing a classroom oral history project is very labor intensive, not to be undertaken casually. Donna's idea that students should listen to and evaluate interviews in groups is a good one, I think; I've always found it useful, when teaching interviewing technique, to have the class listen to excerpts of existing interveiws - not necessarily those that are esp. bad or good, just typical interviews - and critique them. That brings home the abstractions of "leading questions, "follow up," etc. Donna also talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I'd be curious to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic. One of the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bringing broad historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - what sort of questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold War - or any generalization - in a meaningful way? Anyone have any thoughts on this, examples to post to the list? Finally there's Donna's comment that her students questioned her cutting inaccurate statements from the final project on the grounds that "if this is their experience, why dont' we include it?" Previous postings have suggested, quite rightly, that "inaccuracies" perhaps speak to larger truths. Here perhaps the "larger truth" is what I rather facetiously refer to as the oprah-fication of American culture: the absolute reification of "personal experience" above all other forms of knowing. How have others handled this problem? --Linda This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --MS_Mac_OE_3127673457_205232_MIME_Part Content-type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable Re: follow up on recent postings Dear Forum: In response to Linda's posting, I too would like to see or have= suggestions in developing some kind of "how to" list for getting = students to do more oral history assignments. How would such an assignment b= e graded? What parameters would have to be set up and enforced? Practical qu= estions such as this need to be addressed. Pete Haro.

----------
From: Linda Shopes <Lshopes@AOL.COM>
To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU
Subject: follow up on recent postings
Date: Sun, Feb 9, 2003, 6:33 AM


A few comments on the most re= cent postings - first, I am enormously impressed and encouraged by the creat= ive work in oral history being done at the high school level.  Tom Murr= ay is right in suggesting how doing an interview with a participant in histo= ry can reenergize students.  It connects them with their community, ope= ns up tough qustions about not only the past but the present, gives them pri= de in doing something tangible, visible to others.  Donna Sharer is als= o right that doing a classroom oral history project is very labor intensive,= not to be undertaken casually.  

Donna's idea that students should listen to and evaluate interviews in grou= ps is a good one, I think; I've always found it useful, when teaching interv= iewing technique, to have the class listen to excerpts of existing interveiw= s - not necessarily those that are esp. bad or good, just typical interviews= - and critique them.  That brings home the abstractions of "leadi= ng questions, "follow up," etc.  

Donna also talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I= 'd be curious to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic= .  One of the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bring= ing broad historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - w= hat sort of questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold= War - or any generalization - in a meaningful way?  Anyone have any th= oughts on this, examples to post to the list?

Finally there's Donna's comment that her students questioned her cutting in= accurate statements from the final project on the grounds that "if this= is their experience, why dont' we include it?"  Previous postings= have suggested, quite rightly, that "inaccuracies" perhaps speak = to larger truths.  Here perhaps the "larger truth" is what I = rather facetiously refer to as the oprah-fication of American culture:  = ;the absolute reification of "personal experience" above all other= forms of knowing.  How have others handled this problem?  --Linda=

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our = Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --MS_Mac_OE_3127673457_205232_MIME_Part-- ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 14:30:15 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Thomas Murray Subject: Getting kids involved in Oral History I don't worry about getting kids willing to do Oral History. Oral History is the core of my currirulum. I let the kids know on the first day exactly what will be expected of them. They will be an author, a researcher, a detective and yes, a historian. My course, The History of the Vietnam War, is just a series of interviews that when examined in total and researched by the stuents becomes the course. I start out the first two weeks building a base with slides, very short videos (no more than 8 to 10 minutes) and music. There is a lot of class discussion of what they hear and see. This two weeks creates an interest, as well as says to the kids, "Things are different in this course." At two weeks I assign email interviews to each student. Email is great. The kids loe it and ther Vietnam Vets love it. It's a conversation with a pause button. I help the kids understand these interviews as a class. We examine each email and show how a few can be turned into an article or report for our book. Soon after we start the email interviews we start entertaining class guests. We prepare for each guest with research. I work hard to know what they will talk about in general. We reflect on each guest and then research new items or things we question. Finally, we do face to face private one on one interviews. The kids by now are very skilled and feel good about this challenge, All of this ends in a report. The reports are pubished in a book, "The Heart of a Warrior". The books are presented in a very personal way by students to veterans at a Welcme Home party the last day of the school year. Oral Hstory is this course. It's not just somethng for extra credit or an add on. My at-risk kids frequently come to my school and my class with all F's. They leave this class as a skilled student/author. Their parents are so proud. It works for everybody. At certain times of the semester the work load can get overwhelming, but a little experience helps reduce this a lot. A goos high quality TA also helps. This year, as an added feature, we professionally taped, with the help of a TV production class, all classroom guests. The video Heart of a Warrior will bring tears to your eyes. Oral History changes kid's lives. Make it the class not something extra to grade. You'll never look back again. Tom Murray This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 12:46:41 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Betsey Ellerbroek Organization: crmm Subject: Recent postings MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Dear Forum, In response to Peter Haro's question on getting more students to do more oral history assignments. Contact your local museum or historical society! There are not enough hours in a day to interview all of the people that have stories to tell. Many pass on before their story can be told. I am the Education Director at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon. We have been working with high school students for a number of years in oral history. Our first project involved students interviewing community members after doing research on various local history topics. These oral histories, and photos from our archives were developed into a video that the students created through a technology course at the high school. Other oral histories that the students have collected have been included in some of our museum exhibits, and two CD-ROMs that we have produced about the treacherous Columbia River bar. I think that it is very important for students to do some research about a particular topic and interview people that have experienced that particular time or event. It is much more meaningful than just reading about it or discussing it. Having a finished product, like we did, when the assignment is completed is very motivating to the students and gives them a feeling of importance. Betsey Ellerbroek Education Director/Visitor Services Manager Columbia River Maritime Museum This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 16:02:33 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Aurora Levins Morales Subject: Re: follow up on recent postings MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Hi-- For those of you interested in the Latino History Project I worked on, the case study will be posted on our website by late April, with information on how to order the workbook with lesson plans etc. The site is under construction now, but the url will be http://www.museumca.org/lhp. I'd also like to let folks know about the role of oral history in a community history organizing project my brother and I are working on in rural Puerto Rico, where we were born. Our long term goal is to turn our family farm into a community education center with an experimental organic farm where local farmers can try out new crops and farming methods without economic risk to themselves. We want to help diversify the agriculture which is staggering along on coffee, bananas and oranges, and also use the rich history of the region to build the local economy through socially responsible tourism. We began with oral history as a way of both recording the community history, and beginning to introduce a different perspective about the value of what people know. First I went down for two months and did a bunch of archival research on land ownership over the past 125 years and a series of oral histories. I asked alot of questions about agricultural practices, and was able to get good information on ecological changes over the past 25 disastrous years of green revolution clear-cutting, and on traditional practices going back to the 1910s. Then I returned with my brother, an organizer and visual artist, and my former partner, a photographer. We did more interviews, got 500 photos of the community, including portraits of all the oral history subjects and many images of people at work, and my brother did several piecehe community store with my laptop computer and the day's haul of digital images, and people began showing up to see what we'd done so far, and to comment ont he stories we were collecting. My brother also set up a roadside studio and did a beautiful rendering of the store itself, over a period of a week, in which many people got to see his work in progress. We also scanned many of people's personal family photos. I also talked with people about not selling off antiquities they find on their land, but holding it for future community development. People find old stone mortars and pestles left by indigenous people, 19th century coffee plantation coains and old tools, nails, newspapers and other items. Tourists from the city often buy these things for forty or fifty dollars and then they're gone. I began talking with people about creating a local museum where the objects could be surroundedby their stories, and where they could earn money from their history not once, but repeatedly. I went back eight months later and distributed the first of what will be a series of posters. The township in which this barrio is locates is the poorest in Puerto Rico. We decided to begin our organizing campaign this w ay. Each poster uses an historical photograph collected from a local family. The first one shows a group of workers atthe end of the harvest of 1955. Elders are still remembered and current elders appear as young women and men. We enlarged the image of one worker and had him with his foot resting on part of the text. It read: Where did we come from? There are those who remember. Ask them! Memory is a Natural Resource of Maricao. I handed the posters out for free. Within hours I was being stopped on the road and asked for additional copies. We plan to use the theme of identifying the people themselves as resources of this community that has been told repeatedly it has none. We've done this project with very little funding, and therefore had to move far more slowly than we want to, but already the work has had an impact. One of the local churches and the public grade school and junior high principals are all very enthusiastic and wrote letters of support when we applied for more funding. Just as students get energized, community elders and working adults began to talk much more about how they wanted the local economy to work, about re-starting a farmers' co-op my father organized in 1950 and that was taken over by big farmers and destroyed soon after, about what kinds of new crops they might try growing. Research showed this area had once produced ginger for export, and some people became excited about trying to reintroduce it. Just being asked, for the record, about what they knew, with obvious respect for their opinions, was such an empowering experience for people who spend their lives being ignored by burocracies. Aurora Levins Morales This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 13:19:40 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Peter Haro Subject: Re: follow up on recent postings Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="----=_Part_6282_5714892.1044911818897" ------=_Part_6282_5714892.1044911818897 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Dear Donna: Is it possible to obtain a copy of the booklet that you referred to? Teaching different perspectives of the Cold War. Finally, did your students write reports or essays regarding their interviews which were then submitted to the instructor or were they recorded via tape or some other media? Pete Haro. Original message attached. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------=_Part_6282_5714892.1044911818897 Content-Type: TEXT/HTML; name=MESSAGE.HTML; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=MESSAGE.HTML
I'd like to add to Tom Murry's "plug" for oral history energizing students.  The high school I teach at has tracking - I teach the students who aren't selected for honors / rapid / AP / magnet classes.  The students that were the most enthusiastic on the school project were four young men who were often disruptive / argumentative / etc.  In the middle of the project one was placed in a "special" after school program.  So, ALL students benefit from oral history!
 
Regarding the Cold War project - these are the questions -
 
1.  When and where were you born?  Where did you grown up?
2.  What important political events do you remember from your lifetime?  Why were these events important to you?
3.  What important economic events do you remember from your lifetime?  Why were these events important to you?
4.  What important social changes do you remember from your lifetime?  Why were these events important to you?
5.  How would you define the Cold War?
6.  What were you told about the Cold War in school?
7.  Do you think the Cold War affected you?  Why or why not?
8.  Did you learn about other countries while you were in school?  Which countries?  What did you learn about them?
9.  Do you think how you look at other people or countries has changed since the Cold War?
10.  How has your life changed since the Cold War?
11.  What do you think we can learn from the Cold War?
 
I should clarify what I meant by "incorrect" information.  Students interviewed people who grew up in the US and outside of the US (Caribbean, Eastern Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America.   Some of the people  gave incorrect information re: alliances / wars / dates.  We didn't change anything about their opinion / experiences.  We also didn't change their definition of the Cold War.  What I found the most interesting is what they learned in school and lessons from the Cold War.  This was an opportunity to not only discuss perspectives but also the term "enemy."  Many people shared their memories of the "evil empire,"  fear of the Soviets, etc.  Two people were from the former Soviet Union and they had stories about the "evil" US. (The purpose of the project was to produce a booklet for teachers to use in teaching multiple perspectives about the Cold War.  I included many lessons plans - it is 70 pages.  We also included local history - our school's connection to the Cold War, articles from local papers on fall out shelters, political debates, etc.) 
 
I'm enjoying the discussion!
Donna
 
On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 09:33:10 EST Linda Shopes <Lshopes@AOL.COM> writes:
A few comments on the most recent postings - first, I am enormously impressed and encouraged by the creative work in oral history being done at the high school level.  Tom Murray is right in suggesting how doing an interview with a participant in history can reenergize students.  It connects them with their community, opens up tough qustions about not only the past but the present, gives them pride in doing something tangible, visible to others.  Donna Sharer is also right that doing a classroom oral history project is very labor intensive, not to be undertaken casually. 

Donna's idea that students should listen to and evaluate interviews in groups is a good one, I think; I've always found it useful, when teaching interviewing technique, to have the class listen to excerpts of existing interveiws - not necessarily those that are esp. bad or good, just typical interviews - and critique them.  That brings home the abstractions of "leading questions, "follow up," etc. 

Donna also talks about her class's interviewing project on the Cold War - I'd be curious to see the list of questions the class developed on this topic.  One of the things I find quite difficult about oral history is bringing broad historical topics like the Cold War down to the personal level - what sort of questions does one ask to connect an individual life to the Cold War - or any generalization - in a meaningful way?  Anyone have any thoughts on this, examples to post to the list?

Finally there's Donna's comment that her students questioned her cutting inaccurate statements from the final project on the grounds that "if this is their experience, why dont' we include it?"  Previous postings have suggested, quite rightly, that "inaccuracies" perhaps speak to larger truths.  Here perhaps the "larger truth" is what I rather facetiously refer to as the oprah-fication of American culture:  the absolute reification of "personal experience" above all other forms of knowing.  How have others handled this problem?  --Linda

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.
 
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------=_Part_6282_5714892.1044911818897-- ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 12:05:07 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: gerardo licon Subject: Another Reference Source Comments: To: cpitton@ae21.org MIME-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252 Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable Content-disposition: inline Hello everyone=2C I am a graduate Student of History at the University of Southern Californ= ia=2E In addition to all the great references that have been suggested I= would like to add another source that has been very helpful to me in pre= paring undergraduate interviewers=2E The book entitled=2C RECORDING ORAL= HISTORY=3A=A0 A Practical Guide for Social Scientists by Valerie Raleigh= Yow is a great resource that deals with the practical matters for conduc= ting oral interviews including=3A preparation=2C ethics=2C legal precauti= ons=2C conducting the interview=2C and post-interview matters=2E I would= not suggest this to be read by high school students (in its entirety)=2C= but I would definitely reccomend it to teachers=2E This book is easy to= read and includes suggested readings if you would like more information = on any one topic=2C but I found everything in the book to suffice=2E = Gerardo Licon History Department University of Southern California = This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 11:14:34 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Alan N. Walker" Subject: fyi MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0042_01C2D1BE.C1D74FE0" This is a multi-part message in MIME format. ------=_NextPart_000_0042_01C2D1BE.C1D74FE0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Speaking of resources, here is an incredibly rich resource for social = history, especially for old sociology majors like myself. Enjoy. http://www.socallib.org/ Alan Walker, Torrance, CA This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------=_NextPart_000_0042_01C2D1BE.C1D74FE0 Content-Type: text/html; charset="Windows-1252" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Speaking of resources, here is an incredibly rich = resource for=20 social history, especially for old sociology majors like myself.=20 Enjoy.

 http://www.socallib.org/
 
Alan Walker,
Torrance, CA
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------=_NextPart_000_0042_01C2D1BE.C1D74FE0-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 16:20:49 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Patrick Mchugh Subject: Evaluating Oral Histories MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64 Um95IFJvemVuendlaWcgcG9zZXMgYW4gaW50ZXJlc3RpbmcgcXVlc3Rpb24gd2l0aCByZWdh cmRzIHRvIGV2YWx1YXRpbmcgYW5kIGdyYWRpbmcgb3JhbCBoaXN0b3JpZXMgcGVyZm9ybWVk IGJ5IHN0dWRlbnRzLiBJbiBteSBleHBlcmllbmNlIGluIHRlYWNoaW5nIG9yYWwgaGlzdG9y eSB0byBoaWdoIHNjaG9vbCBhbmQgY29sbGVnZSBzdHVkZW50cywgbXkgcGFydG5lciBhbmQg SSBkZXZlbG9wZWQgYSBzY29yaW5nIHJ1YnJpYyB0aGF0IHdvcmtlZCBmb3IgdXMuIAogVGhl IHJ1YnJpYyBldmFsdWF0ZWQgMyBjb21wb25lbnRzIG9mIHRoZSBvcmFsIGhpc3RvcnkgcHJv Y2VzczsgMSlIb3cgd2VsbCBkbyB0aGUgc3R1ZGVudHMga25vdyB0aGUgb3JhbCBoaXN0b3J5 IHByb2Nlc3M/ICBOYW1lIGFuZCBkYXRlLCBhc2tpbmcgZm9yIHBlcm1pc3Npb24gdG8gcmVj b3JkLCBhc2tpbmcgZm9yIHNpZ25hdHVyZXMsIGRpcmVjdGluZyBxdWVzdGlvbnMgdG8gY3Jl YXRlIGRpYWxvZ3VlLCBldmlkZW5jZSBvZiBsaXN0ZW5pbmcsIGZvbGxvd3VwIHF1ZXN0aW9u cywgYmVpbmcgYXdhcmUgb2YgdGhlIGV0aGljcyBvZiBvcmFsIGhpc3RvcnkgaW50ZXJ2aWV3 cywgd3JhcCB1cCBhbmQgY2xvc3VyZSB0byB0aGUgaW50ZXJ2aWV3LiAgMilXaGF0IGlzIHRo ZSBoaXN0b3JpY2FsIGNvbnRlbnQgb2YgdGhlIGludGVydmlldz8gIEhhcyB0aGUgc3R1ZGVu dCBzdHVkaWVkIHRoZSBoaXN0b3JpYyBwZXJpb2QsIGV2ZW50LCBhbmQgaW5kaXZpZHVhbCB0 byBiZSBpbnRlcnZpZXdlZD8gIEFyZSB0aGUgcXVlc3Rpb25zIHRoYXQgYXJlIGRldmVsb3Bl ZCBldmlkZW5jZSBvZiB0aGF0IGNvbnRlbnQga25vd2xlZGdlPyAgV2UgdGF1Z2h0IGVhY2gg c2VwYXJhdGVseSB0aGVuIHVzZWQgc2hvcnQgYW5zd2VyIGFuZCBlc3NheSBxdWVzdGlvbnMg dG8gY2hlY2sgZm9yIHVuZGVyc3RhbmRpbmcgYW5kIGdyYWRlZCB0aGVtLiAzKSBUaGUgaW50 ZXJ2aWV3IGl0c2VsZiBpcyB0aGVuIHVzZWQgdG8gYXNzZXNzIHRoZSBmaXJzdCAyIGNvbXBv bmVudHMuICBDcmVhdGUgYSBsaXN0IG9mIGFsbCB0aGUgdGhlIGV2aWRlbmNlIHlvdSB3YW50 IHRvIHNlZSBhbmQvb3IgaGVhciBpbiB0aGUgb3JhbCBoaXN0b3J5IGFuZCBldmFsdWF0ZSBl YWNoIHVzaW5nIGEgbnVtYmVyIG9yIGxldHRlciBzeXN0ZW0gdG8gZGV0ZXJtaW5lIGdyYWRl cy4gIFdlIGZvdW5kIGl0IHRvIGJlIGEgZmFpciwgb2JqZWN0aXZlIGFuZCB0aG9yb3VnaCBw cm9jZXNzIGZvciBldmFsdWF0aW5nIG9yYWwgaGlzdG9yaWVzIGNvbmR1Y3RlZCBieSBzdHVk ZW50cy4gIFRoZSBzdHVkZW50cyB3ZXJlIGdyYWRlZCBvbiB0aGVpciB1bmRlcnN0YW5kaW5n IG9mIHRoZSBwcm9jZXNzLCBrbm93bGVkZ2Ugb2YgdGhlIGNvbnRlbnQsIGFuZCB0aGUgZmlu YWwgcHJvZHVjdC4gIFlvdSBjYW4gd2VpZ2ggdGhlIDMgYXJlYXMgZGVwZW5kaW5nIG9uIHdo YXQgeW91IGZlZWwgaXMgbW9zdCBpbXBvcnRhbnQuIAogSG9wZSB0aGlzIGlzIGhlbHBmdWwu Cg== ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 16:44:04 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Patrick Mchugh Subject: Re: Tips for students MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Ms Levins Morales comments reminded me of how personal and unpredictable these interviews can be. The need for practice interviewing and peer review are critical. From becoming familiar with the equipment, to creating appropriate questions, to developing a rapport require patience and skill. Active listening and creating a comfort zone for both interviewer and interviewee can make an oral history a classic or a bust. We interviewed residents of Flint, Michigan about their involvement in Civil Rights actions, in particular, the struggle to end housing discrimination in Flint in 1968. Though we tried to prepare the students for the emotion and intimacy of the interview, the students still marveled and some struggled with how personal the stories were to our interviewees. That separates oral history from journalism. Thank you. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 11:55:38 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Greg (\"Fritz\") Umbach" Subject: Re: talking about oral history In-Reply-To: <7a.37db432b.2b74a489@aol.com> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="============_-1166967156==_ma============" --============_-1166967156==_ma============ Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed" All, Linda's remarks of Fri, 7 Feb detailing the ways in which instructors might employ oral history as a means to crack the tough pedagogical nut of "historical knowledge" - the messiness of evidence, the contingent nature of our interpretations - strikes me as particularly useful. But perhaps there is value in modeling these rather abstract ideas for students before they encounter specific examples in their own research; that is, students may more readily recognzie the particular quirks that emerge in their own work as manifestations of more general phenomena if they know such dynamics in advance. One good monograph-length study that puts "known facts" (to use Linda's language) in dialogue with "individual perceptions," as well as teases meaning out of the discrepancies between informants' oral recollections, can be found in Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community which explores the changing lives of lesbians in Buffalo from 1940 to 1970. Conveniently for instructors, much of the source material for this book - including 27 transcribed oral histories with 92 tapes - have been archived at the "lesbian herstory archives" (http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/) making it possible for students to retrace the work of the authors. A much shorter, article length study that chronicles the role of oral history in forcing us to re-examine what seemed like the "settled facts" of women's history can be found in Judith N. McArthur, "From Rosie the Riveter to the Feminine Mystique: An Historiographical Survey of American Women and World War II," Bulletin of Bibliography 44:1 (1987): 1-8. Best regards, Fritz Umbach -- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Fritz Umbach, Project Director September 11 Digital Archive A joint project of American Social History Project/ Center for Media and Learning and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University The Graduate Center The City University of New York 365 Fifth Avenue, Room X107.11, New York, New York 10016 Tel: 212-817-1964 E-mail: ghu1@cornell.edu http://911digitalarchive.org http://www.ashp.cuny.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --============_-1166967156==_ma============ Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" Re: talking about oral history
All,

Linda's remarks of Fri, 7 Feb detailing the ways in which instructors might employ  oral history as a means to crack the tough pedagogical nut of "historical knowledge" - the messiness of evidence, the contingent nature of our interpretations - strikes me as particularly useful.  But perhaps there is value in modeling these rather abstract ideas for students before they encounter specific examples in their own research; that is, students may more readily recognzie the particular quirks that emerge in their own work as manifestations of more general phenomena if they know such dynamics in advance. 

 One good monograph-length study that puts "known facts" (to use Linda's language) in dialogue with "individual perceptions," as well as teases meaning out of the discrepancies between informants' oral recollections, can be found in Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community which explores the changing lives of lesbians in Buffalo from 1940 to 1970.  Conveniently for instructors, much of the source material for this book - including 27 transcribed oral histories with 92 tapes - have been archived at the "lesbian herstory archives" (http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/) making it possible for students to retrace the work of the authors.

A much shorter, article length study that chronicles the role of oral history in forcing us to re-examine what seemed like the "settled facts" of women's history can be found in Judith N. McArthur, "From Rosie the Riveter to the Feminine Mystique: An Historiographical Survey of American Women and World War II," Bulletin of Bibliography 44:1 (1987): 1-8.


Best regards,

Fritz Umbach
--
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Fritz Umbach, Project Director
September 11 Digital Archive
A joint project of American Social History Project/
Center for Media and Learning and the Center for History
and New Media at George Mason University

The Graduate Center
The City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue, Room X107.11, New York, New York 10016
Tel: 212-817-1964   E-mail: ghu1@cornell.edu

http://911digitalarchive.org
http://www.ashp.cuny.edu 

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --============_-1166967156==_ma============-- ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 23:37:34 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Linda Shopes Subject: Continuing the discussion MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_7b.a06b570.2b7dcc8e_boundary" --part1_7b.a06b570.2b7dcc8e_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit All: I'm enjoying the continuing commentary. Let me again interject a few comments & suggestions and raise some additional questions. First, a couple of postings that caught my attention: Tom Murray's 3-step approach to orienting students to oral history interviewing makes good sense - first, an email exchange, then classroom guests interviewed by the class, and finally one-on-one interviews. A nice progression, I think. Second, I second Betsey Ellerbroek's suggestions that classrooms team up with historical societies to develop a local oral history project - this sort of collaboration is a great way of connecting the classroom to the community and to do "real work." And I echo the commentator from Flint, Michigan, who noted how the depth and intimacy that frequently develops in an interview can be surprising, sometimes difficult, sometimes exhilerating for students - and the rest of us, too. While I will never minimize the way the social identities of or differences between interviewer and interviewee effect the interview, I also have found an interview is often a rather unique exchange, in which the intimacy of the encounter can tend to blur differences - in generation or in class, for example - that are often difficult to talk across. And I appreciate Donna Sharer's posting her Cold War questions: especially with the broader questions (e.g. about important economic events), do students have follow up prompts if narrators seem to fumble, or don't get the connection between economic developments and their own lives? And with a question like the one about defining the Cold War, once a narrator has answered, is s/he perhaps presented with an alternative definition, and asked to comment upon it? In other words, how do students work within this overall frame? Second, some broader questions and observations: Several have noted correctly that oral history opens up multiple perspectives on the past, different points of view, different truths, if you will. I worry, though, that we sometimes leave it at that - everyone has their say - yet some perspectives are more thoughtful or insightful than others; some are more critical, less platitudinous or self-justifying; some more grounded in deep knowledge of the subject at hand; some, in the end, more valuable, or even better, than others. How do we work with students to make these sorts of assessments? And to use interviews to build an historical argument, not simply move us with their admitedly considerable emotional power? And I'm wondering too, if - in some of the projects described - you've felt the need to open up the story and interview not only those with whom you are perhaps in sympathy, but those whose views run counter to the project ethos, if you will: for example, has Ms. Morales considered interviewing those who oppose community agriculture or who support aggressive tourism; do Mr. Murray's students interview opponents of the Vietnam War? Did the Flint folks interveiw those who opposed housing integration in 1968? I'd also like to hear more about the way you use oral history and how these "uses" have been received. A few have mentioned publictions, programs, or videos. Do these open up more conversation about the meaning of the past, or are they, in the end, simply commemorative? I like to think of an interview as the beginning of a conversation, one that can involve a classroom, a community, a group of narrators, in a broader conversation about what we remember, why we remember it, what we choose to forget or ignore. Ms. Morales begins to address these questions - can anyone add to this? And if so, where have the rough spots been? Have any of these public conversations been contentious? Everyone to date has more or less recounted oral history "success stories." Any not so successful experiences or continuing challenges we can ponder, or otherwise learn from? For me a big challenge continues to be getting students to think beyond technique in doing an interview (asking open ended questions, etc.) and to work to wrap their own minds around the narrator's - to try to figure out where the narrator is coming from and ask questions that penetrate into that standpoint, or way of looking at things, and also to question it - to make the interview a critical exchange, not simply "telling your story." Finally, several have requested and offered some fine additional resources. Here's a few more: For those interested in teaching guides, the Oral History Association has recently published Oral History Projects in Your Classroom by Linda P. Wood, with introduction by Marjorie L. McLellan (2001). It's designed especially for precollegiate teachers, but it might also be useful in the undergraduate classroom. It's a step-by-step guide and includes sample forms, handouts, examples, curriculum suggestions, and disucssion questions based upon existing classroom projects. Also useful at the precollegiate level is the Oral History theme issue of OAH's Magazine of History (Spring 1997), edited by McLellan and Cliff Kuhn. College and university professors may find may find especially useful the Oral History Review's theme issue, "Practice and Pedagogy," edited by Kathleen Nasstrom and Timothy Fong; it's vol. 25, nos 1-2 (Summer/Fall, 1998). Fritz Umback's recent posting brings to mind the annual essays on oral history as it relates to a specific historical topic that ran in the September issue of the JAH from about 1987 through 2002. Essays address ways oral history can open up new questions, new perspectives (and not simply add "new facts") on a wide range of historical topics, including WW2, western women's history, the civil rights movement, the history of childhood, the WW2 era internment of Japanese Americans, the history of science, and dozens more. Aurora Levins Morales's discussion of work in Puerto Rico recalls Paul Thompson and Hugo Slim's book Listening for a Change, which discusses the use of oral history in community development projects. Finally, while I have already noted H-Oralhist, the H-Net affiliated listserv focusing on oral history, I would also like to mention that H-Oralhist's homepage, accessible at http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~oralhist/, includes a wealth of resources and links. I look forward to our continuing discussion. --Linda This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_7b.a06b570.2b7dcc8e_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable All:  I'm enjoying the continuing commentary.&nbs= p; Let me again interject a few comments & suggestions and raise some ad= ditional questions.

First, a couple of postings that caught my attention:  Tom Murray's 3-s= tep approach to orienting students to oral history interviewing makes good s= ense - first, an email exchange, then classroom guests interviewed by the cl= ass, and finally one-on-one interviews.  A nice progression, I think.&n= bsp; Second, I second Betsey Ellerbroek's suggestions that classrooms team u= p with historical societies to develop a local oral history project - this s= ort of collaboration is a great way of connecting the classroom to the commu= nity and to do "real work."  And I echo the commentator from Flint, Mic= higan, who noted how the depth and intimacy that frequently develops in an i= nterview can be surprising, sometimes difficult, sometimes exhilerating for=20= students - and the rest of us, too.  While I will never minimize the wa= y the social identities of or differences between interviewer and interviewe= e effect the interview,  I also have found an interview is often a rath= er unique exchange, in which the intimacy of the encounter can tend to blur=20= differences - in generation or in class, for example - that are often diffic= ult to talk across.  And I appreciate Donna Sharer's posting her Cold W= ar questions:  especially with the broader questions (e.g. about import= ant economic events), do students have follow up prompts if narrators seem t= o fumble, or don't get the connection between economic developments and thei= r own lives?  And with a question like the one about defining the Cold=20= War, once a narrator has answered, is s/he perhaps presented with an alterna= tive definition, and asked to comment upon it?
In other words, how do students work within this overall frame?

Second, some broader questions and observations:  Several have noted co= rrectly that oral history opens up multiple perspectives on the past, differ= ent points of view, different truths, if you will.  I worry, though, th= at we sometimes leave it at that - everyone has their say - yet some perspec= tives are more thoughtful or insightful than others; some are more critical,= less platitudinous or self-justifying; some more grounded in deep knowledge= of the subject at hand; some, in the end, more valuable, or even better, th= an others.  How do we work with students to make these sorts of assessm= ents?   And to use interviews to build an historical argument, not= simply move us with their admitedly considerable emotional power?  And= I'm wondering too, if - in some of the projects described - you've felt the= need to open up the story and interview not only those with whom you are pe= rhaps in sympathy, but those whose views run counter to the project ethos, i= f you will:  for example, has Ms. Morales considered interviewing those= who oppose community agriculture or who support aggressive tourism; do Mr.=20= Murray's students interview opponents of the Vietnam War?  Did the Flin= t folks interveiw those who opposed housing integration in 1968? 

I'd also like to hear more about the way you use oral history and how these=20= "uses" have been received.  A few have mentioned publictions, programs,= or videos.  Do these open up more conversation about the meaning of th= e past, or are they, in the end, simply commemorative?   I like to= think of an interview as the beginning of a conversation, one that can invo= lve a classroom, a community, a group of narrators, in a broader conversatio= n about what we remember, why we remember it, what we choose to forget or ig= nore.   Ms. Morales begins to address these questions - can anyone= add to this?  And if so, where have the rough spots been?  Have a= ny of these public conversations been contentious?

Everyone to date has more or less recounted oral history "success stories."&= nbsp;  Any not so successful experiences or continuing challenges we ca= n ponder, or otherwise learn from?  For me a big challenge continues to= be getting students to think beyond technique in doing an interview (asking= open ended questions, etc.) and to work to wrap their own minds around the=20= narrator's - to try to figure out where the narrator is coming from and ask=20= questions that penetrate into that standpoint, or way
of looking at things, and also to question it - to make the interview a crit= ical exchange, not simply "telling your story." 

Finally, several have requested and offered some fine additional resources.&= nbsp; Here's a few more:  For those interested in teaching guides, the=20= Oral History Association has recently published Oral History Projects in=20= Your Classroom by Linda P. Wood, with introduction by Marjorie L. McLell= an (2001).  It's designed especially for precollegiate teachers, but it= might also be useful in the undergraduate classroom.  It's a step-by-s= tep guide and includes sample forms, handouts, examples, curriculum suggesti= ons, and disucssion questions based upon existing classroom projects. =20= Also useful at the precollegiate level is the Oral History theme issue of OA= H's Magazine of History (Spring 1997), edited by McLellan and Cliff K= uhn.  College and university professors may find may find especially us= eful the Oral History Review's theme issue, "Practice and Pedagogy,"=20= edited by Kathleen Nasstrom and Timothy Fong; it's vol. 25, nos 1-2 (Summer/= Fall, 1998).  Fritz Umback's recent posting brings to mind the annual e= ssays on oral history as it relates to a specific historical topic that ran=20= in the September issue of the JAH from about 1987 through 2002.  Essays= address ways oral history can open up new questions, new perspectives (and=20= not simply add "new facts") on a wide range of historical topics, including&= nbsp; WW2, western women's history, the civil rights movement,  the his= tory of childhood, the WW2 era internment of Japanese Americans, the history= of science, and dozens more.  Aurora Levins Morales's discussion of wo= rk in Puerto Rico recalls Paul Thompson and Hugo Slim's book Listening fo= r a Change, which discusses the use of oral history in community develop= ment projects.  Finally, while I have already noted H-Oralhist, the H-N= et affiliated listserv focusing on oral history, I would also like to mentio= n that H-Oralhist's homepage, accessible at
http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~oralhist/, includes a wealth of resources and links.

I look forward to our continuing discussion.  --Linda
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_7b.a06b570.2b7dcc8e_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 16:00:24 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Thomas Murray Subject: Continuing the discussion The question was posted, "Do we look at opponents to the Vietnam War?" My class looks at as many aspects of the war as we can get interviews. Last semester we interviewed: * 18 Vietnam Veterans * 4 people we called "volunteers" * 6 family members * 5 combatants from non-USA military units To clarify the vets were Special Forces, Officers, grunts, marines, Navy Patrol Boat, & pilots. One was a double amputee who steped on a mine. Another was a 100% PTSD disabled Marine. One was very active in the Vietnam Veterans against the war when he came home and participated in the "Winter Soldiers" protests. Our volunteers included a UPI reporter with many, many years in country. Another was a Red Cross Donut Dollie. A third was a CIA, Air America Pilot. The last was an SDS campus agitator who was kicked out of high school at age 16 for his protest activity. Our family members were a wife whose husband was killed and left her with 5 kids back home. One sister of a KIA vet gave us audio tapes of him that he sent home each week prior to his death. They were very clear but had a very erie feeling to them. We had two adult children interviews that had their Dad's crying after they read the interviews. We also had a founding member of Sons and Daughters in Touch. Finally we interviewed two South Vietnamese soldiers. Both were brutally imprisoned after the war was over and placed in Re-Education camps. Another was a Montagnard who has watched his culture destroyed since the war. The last was a Hmong who met his wife in a refugee camp. Their entire village was supported by CIA support. The final interview in this set was a man who was a high school student in Hanoi during Nixon's carpet bombing. He went to school one day to find approximately 200 fewer students who had been killed the previous night by the bombing. The thing that the kids learn so vividly in the expansive exercise is that almost everyone has the same opinion no matter what their place in the war. War has no winners. It leaves deep scars on all who experience it. The kids also learn as citizens we better know who we elect and what they're all about. It's far to easy for old white haired men like me to me to send somebody else's son to war. This course teaches about life and it's challenges. It teaches history but it also teaches the responsiblity of citizenship. Above all, it tells my at-risk kids that no matter where life takes you and how difficult it seems at times good things come to good people, eventually. Hang in their, work hard, your success will come. They see this in every set of eyes they look into in these interviews. Tom Murray This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 03:25:26 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Aurora Levins Morales Subject: Re: Continuing the discussion MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit In a message dated 2/14/03 5:51:27 AM, Lshopes@AOL.COM writes: And I'm wondering too, if - in some of the projects described - you've felt the need to open up the story and interview not only those with whom you are perhaps in sympathy, but those whose views run counter to the project ethos, if you will: for example, has Ms. Morales considered interviewing those who oppose community agriculture or who support aggressive tourism I have a couple of responses to this question. First of all, the project in Indiera is quite openly an organizing project. We are not there simply to document what has happened to the people of Indiera. We also want to have an impact on what will happen to them in the future, and we have definite biases. We want our people to control their own local economy as much as possible. We want to protect the ecology of the region. We are not neutral. We are documenting the history of Indiera because we want to understand the forces that shaped it and because we want people to think critically about their past so they can be more active in shaping their future. But the fact that our biases are clear to us doesn't mean we only interview people who agree with us. It's nowhere near that simple, anyway. People's feelings about the land, farming, the local economy and political structure, social hierarchies, tourism, the goverment in San Juan, what Puerto Rico's relationship to the US should or can be--- are complex and contradictory. The community storekeeper opposes statehood based on his experiences of racism in Chicago, where he started out with the proceeds of the sale of his sister's goats, selling underwear to factory workers from a cart. Since his return with enough money to set up shop, he has acquired the land of many poor families, probably by taking it as collateral for food and household goods bought on credit, as storekeepers have been doing in the mountains for 150 years. He employs a number of young men at miserable wages, one of whom, despondent over his dead-end job clearing someone else's land, and the prospect of domestic violence charges brought by his ex-wife, recently killed himself. The storekeeper is an economic power in the community and is resented by some. He also frequently gives food away and offered his store walls for a photo mural portrait of the community. Is he for or against our vision? Hard to say. We also spoke to a pro-statehood, Pentecostal elder whose family descends from some of the earliest big coffee planters to claim title to land in Indiera, and from the illegitimate offspring of more recent ones. His immediate family's holdings have been reduced to a few small plots, but he still thinks of practically everyone else as interlopers, and yet he can talk about the bitter cruelties of class in the barrio less euphamistically than practically anyone else we spoke with. Is he an opponent? Yes and no. As good organizers, we spend more time listening than talking. When we ask people to tell their stories, we also ask what they think Indiera needs, explore their ideas in depth and ask what they think about ours. It's important to us to understand how Indiera works, so we want to listen to and make sense of the points of view of all members of the community. We talked with an Episcopal deacon who's been a coffee worker all his life, and thinks the wealthy families are more important than the poor ones, and his wife who vehemently disagrees. We talked with our neighbor across the road who dumps trash and builds pigpens on our land, works for the current political machine and makes sure only supporters of his pro-statehood faction get water during droughts. The fact that I had been doing research on Pentecostal history and knew about the California Puerto Rican missionaries who had brought the faith to the island in 1916 surprised him into our first friendly conversation in decades. We talked with the biggest landholder in the area, whom we know recently kept a Dominican woman in virtual slavery on his land, and with a corrupt politician who runs a tiny graft empire. But we do think some of the stories are "better" than others, hold a more complex and realistic picture of the way people's lives are connected. Some people have thought more about social relations in the barrio, or the impact of recent agricultural practices on the land Some people are more willing than others to examine differences in power that are fundamental to how people have lived with each other. The pro-statehood elder would probably disagree with us about many things, but his viewpoints are extremely valuable to us. His life history explains a lot to us about why he's made some of the choices he's made. We're learning more and more about what lies behind people's religious and political affiliations, and none of it is obvious or easy. So I don't think the fact that we have an agenda makes us less open to the stories of people who disagree with us. We actually find them fascinating. And disagreement doesn't necessarily mean they'd oppose our efforts. The fact that we know our biases, and that we have something we want to accomplish beyond creating a record, helps rather than hinders us. We have too much at stake to want a falsified story. It's in our interests to really get why people think what they think. Also, the fact that we are of this community, that many of the people we are interviewing remember us as children and remember our parents, means people understand that we have an investment, that we aren't hit and run researchers. We have long term relationships with these people and many of them know our family supports independence, that my father started the first co-op in 1950, and that we aren't affiliated with the two main parties that take turns running things. They know who we are. We put those relationships at risk if we only talk to people who see things our way. (If there are any.) Most people like some part of what we propose and are skeptical about other parts. I guess that's one of the things that became obvious as soon as we started this project. Everyone appreciates the collecting of stories, because the community as a whole has been ignored for so long. But beyond that, so far no-one wholly agrees or wholly disagrees with us, even the people whose attitudes or actions horrify us. I'm not sure what you meant by "community agriculture". What we have proposed is a way for small farmers to use our land to experiment with new crops in order to diversify agriculture, and to support the efforts of farmers who want to form a cooperative. Our interviews include questions about how agriculture has changed over their lifetimes and what they would like to see happen. Actually, the big landowners support agricultural experimentation because they are concerned with the general decline of agriculture and are interested in ways of keeping it alive. Several of them offered plots of their own land for the project. Small farmers like the idea of trying things out without financial risk. So no-one opposes the experimental farm. All the small farmers we found were in favor of a co-op, though they had varying degrees of faith in whether it could really be organized and kept independent. Larger landowners said it wasn't necessary, but didn't actively oppose it. Conflicts of interest will certainly arise if the cooperative actually begins to form, because big coffee farmers won't be happy if small farmers band together and have more control over prices and marketing, but they won't openly oppose it, they'll just try to take it over. Aurora Levins Morales PS. FYI My last name is Levins Morales, not Morales, following the Latin American tradition of double last names. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 13:37:32 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Noonan, Ellen" Subject: using oral history rather than creating it Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit There has been great discussion so far on the oral history projects people are doing with students and the many complexities of practice and interpretation that they involve. But I'm curious about how people teach with existing oral history accounts. For example, we have 150 oral histories posted in the Many Pasts section of History Matters (some quite recently added on the post WWII period). Does anyone assign students to read/listen to these oral histories, or oral histories from other sources? What do you ask students to do with them? Do you as teachers use them for your own preparation? Just curious. Ellen -- Ellen Noonan American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning The Graduate Center, City University of New York 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11 New York, NY 10016 enoonan@gc.cuny.edu http://www.ashp.cuny.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 13:54:52 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: thomas murray Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/html

Ellen,

Oral Histories are used.  My students' Oral History project is being used in high school classrooms in Michigan.  They are in the process of purchasing class sets for American History classes to use during their examination of the Vietnam War.

We use Oral Histories in my class to try to understand what may be going on with those we are getting ready to interview.

I've been invited to Washington DC by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to teach the Oral History methods I use to other teachers from around the USA.  It's called The Teach Vietnam Teachers Network.

I think Oral History is a growing area of secondary education.

Tom Murray

>


Protect your PC -
Click here for McAfee.com VirusScan Online This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 13:52:27 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "(Dr) Carole E. Adams" Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it In-Reply-To: MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Quoting "Noonan, Ellen" : Does anyone assign students to read/listen > to these oral histories, or oral histories from other sources? What do you > ask students to do with them? ******* I teach our undergrad history-major methods course, History & Historians, and we just did a segment on oral history. I gave out three slave narratives and asked them to evaluate how well the interviewer did, based on what was recorded, and how successful/ non-successful each interviewer was at recognizing the sorts of guidelines for interviewing historians posit today. One of the three selections was very brief, in narrative rather than first- person form, didn't use dialect, and said the interviewee knew nothing about slaves being abused. Most of the students picked up on all this and made points such as: too much interviewer interpretation; not enough background research by interviewer; no follow-up questions, didn't build rapport with interviewee, etc. Out of about 20 students, though, two thought this interview was the best one [!] because "it was easier to understand." Carole Elizabeth Adams, PhD History and Women's Studies University of Central Florida Orlando FL 32816-1350 4000 Central Florida Blvd This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 20:15:10 GMT Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Donna Sharer Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it I recently used oral histories from "Hard Times." I purposedly picked histories from men and women of different ethnic, class, and geographic backgrounds. It provided another way to look at the Great Depression because not everyone had "horror" stories. Other histories showed people didn't see much change in their lives because, as one African American man stated, African Americans always lived in a "great depression." Students worked in teams of 3. (I have 33 students in a class). Each team created a visual story line (drawing) of what they learned about the Depression from the interviewee's perspective. I have students keep reflective journals on what we study. The oral histories left the most memorable impression on many students. Donna Sharer Phila. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 17:33:31 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Spencer, John" Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it In-Reply-To: Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable This is an interesting discussion, and I thank Linda and all the participants for their useful comments. As Ellen Noonan and others are reminding us, we can engage the = interpretive issues that have come up so far in the forum by critically examining already-existing oral history materials. I am a former high school = teacher who now works for the American Social History Project/Center for Media = and Learning, running professional development seminars for high school = teachers in New York City. Last year we ran an oral history workshop that = focused on materials from the "American Life Histories" section (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/wpahome.html) of the Library of Congress=B9s "American Memory" Web site (one of the "exemplary oral = history sites" listed by Linda in her excellent "Making Sense of Oral History" section of the History Matters site). Our participating teachers, like many students, had little experience = with oral history, and we jumped in with what we felt were some exemplary = and provocative documents: contrasting excerpts from the book *Rosie the = Riveter Revisited,* read out loud. One informant was a self-professed housewife = who insisted, for example, that "patriotic feeling was so strong that = anyone would have done anything to help. You never had any of this protest = type of thing"; while the other noted that "by 1944 a lot of people were = questioning the war...I think when we actually began to see the boys come home in = late 1943, 1944 -- those that had been injured and started coming back -- = then the rumbles grew into roars, and the young people thought maybe they = were being led into this." Teachers were intrigued not only by how oral = sources challenge and confirm more traditional narratives, as has been = discussed in the forum already, but also by how different oral sources challenge = each other. It strikes me that by starting students off with carefully = selected (e.g., contrasting) transcripts and recordings, rather than with their = own, more open-ended interviews, we can help them develop what Linda and = others have been searching for -- i.e., a critical stance that is open to the = power and immediacy of oral history testimony without simply accepting it at = face value. =20 Following this initial exposure, we had teachers search the American = Life Histories collection for documents that would add an interesting = dimension to topics they already teach. (The "Collection Connections" link, near = the bottom of the American Life Histories home page, contains useful ideas = on how to search the collection and focus its use for students). Teachers = then analyzed these documents, paying attention to (1) issues surrounding = the creation of the document (e.g., who produced the interview? Why? When? = Is the narrator=B9s story believable? Why or why not?) and (2) connections between the interview and the larger historical context and events of = the period. Finally, teachers discussed ways of using such documents to = enrich their existing curricula. Suggestions included dramatic writing = activities in which students write and perform a monologue or reader=B9s theater = script based on the oral history document(s); comparisons of the transcript to contemporary stereotypes and images from popular culture; writing a = dialogue between the interviewee and a well-known historical figure from the = period; and essay assignments, reminiscent of what Melissa Walker described in = her earlier post, in which students incorporate the oral history = document(s) into a DBQ essay or research paper, as they would any other document. I, like Ellen, look forward to hearing about approaches other teachers = have taken to using existing oral history materials, as well as the results = these approaches have had with students. Best, John Spencer --=20 John Spencer Associate Education Director American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning The Graduate Center, City University of New York 99 Hudson Street, 3rd floor New York, NY 10013 Tel: 212/966-4248 x. 208 Fax: 212/966-4589=20 http://www.ashp.cuny.edu jspencer@gc.cuny.edu > From: "Noonan, Ellen" > Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" > > Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 13:37:32 -0500 > To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU > Subject: using oral history rather than creating it >=20 > There has been great discussion so far on the oral history projects = people > are doing with students and the many complexities of practice and > interpretation that they involve. But I'm curious about how people = teach > with existing oral history accounts. For example, we have 150 oral = histories > posted in the Many Pasts section of History Matters (some quite = recently > added on the post WWII period). Does anyone assign students to = read/listen > to these oral histories, or oral histories from other sources? What = do you > ask students to do with them? Do you as teachers use them for your = own > preparation? >=20 > Just curious. >=20 > Ellen > -- > Ellen Noonan > American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning > The Graduate Center, City University of New York > 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11 > New York, NY 10016 > enoonan@gc.cuny.edu > http://www.ashp.cuny.edu >=20 > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site = at > http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. = History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 20:43:45 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Dr. Frank L. Frable Jr." Organization: Home Account Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Hi John, As an outsider, being neither instructor, teacher, professor or media type. I am amazed at the revision/ redactive history woven into the oral history comments of the last several weeks. For those who did not live or were very young children during WW II, liberal redaction/revision through oral history or otherwise appears to be the soupe du jour. Let objective commentary trump subjective thinking. Frank L. Frable ----- Original Message ----- From: Spencer, John To: Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2003 5:33 PM Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it > This is an interesting discussion, and I thank Linda and all the > participants for their useful comments. > > As Ellen Noonan and others are reminding us, we can engage the interpretive > issues that have come up so far in the forum by critically examining > already-existing oral history materials. I am a former high school teacher > who now works for the American Social History Project/Center for Media and > Learning, running professional development seminars for high school teachers > in New York City. Last year we ran an oral history workshop that focused on > materials from the "American Life Histories" section > (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/wpahome.html) of the Library of > Congressıs "American Memory" Web site (one of the "exemplary oral history > sites" listed by Linda in her excellent "Making Sense of Oral History" > section of the History Matters site). > > Our participating teachers, like many students, had little experience with > oral history, and we jumped in with what we felt were some exemplary and > provocative documents: contrasting excerpts from the book *Rosie the Riveter > Revisited,* read out loud. One informant was a self-professed housewife who > insisted, for example, that "patriotic feeling was so strong that anyone > would have done anything to help. You never had any of this protest type of > thing"; while the other noted that "by 1944 a lot of people were questioning > the war...I think when we actually began to see the boys come home in late > 1943, 1944 -- those that had been injured and started coming back -- then > the rumbles grew into roars, and the young people thought maybe they were > being led into this." Teachers were intrigued not only by how oral sources > challenge and confirm more traditional narratives, as has been discussed in > the forum already, but also by how different oral sources challenge each > other. It strikes me that by starting students off with carefully selected > (e.g., contrasting) transcripts and recordings, rather than with their own, > more open-ended interviews, we can help them develop what Linda and others > have been searching for -- i.e., a critical stance that is open to the power > and immediacy of oral history testimony without simply accepting it at face > value. > > Following this initial exposure, we had teachers search the American Life > Histories collection for documents that would add an interesting dimension > to topics they already teach. (The "Collection Connections" link, near the > bottom of the American Life Histories home page, contains useful ideas on > how to search the collection and focus its use for students). Teachers then > analyzed these documents, paying attention to (1) issues surrounding the > creation of the document (e.g., who produced the interview? Why? When? Is > the narratorıs story believable? Why or why not?) and (2) connections > between the interview and the larger historical context and events of the > period. Finally, teachers discussed ways of using such documents to enrich > their existing curricula. Suggestions included dramatic writing activities > in which students write and perform a monologue or readerıs theater script > based on the oral history document(s); comparisons of the transcript to > contemporary stereotypes and images from popular culture; writing a dialogue > between the interviewee and a well-known historical figure from the period; > and essay assignments, reminiscent of what Melissa Walker described in her > earlier post, in which students incorporate the oral history document(s) > into a DBQ essay or research paper, as they would any other document. > > I, like Ellen, look forward to hearing about approaches other teachers have > taken to using existing oral history materials, as well as the results these > approaches have had with students. > > Best, > John Spencer > > -- > John Spencer > Associate Education Director > American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning > The Graduate Center, City University of New York > 99 Hudson Street, 3rd floor > New York, NY 10013 > Tel: 212/966-4248 x. 208 > Fax: 212/966-4589 > http://www.ashp.cuny.edu > jspencer@gc.cuny.edu > > > > From: "Noonan, Ellen" > > Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" > > > > Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 13:37:32 -0500 > > To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU > > Subject: using oral history rather than creating it > > > > There has been great discussion so far on the oral history projects people > > are doing with students and the many complexities of practice and > > interpretation that they involve. But I'm curious about how people teach > > with existing oral history accounts. For example, we have 150 oral histories > > posted in the Many Pasts section of History Matters (some quite recently > > added on the post WWII period). Does anyone assign students to read/listen > > to these oral histories, or oral histories from other sources? What do you > > ask students to do with them? Do you as teachers use them for your own > > preparation? > > > > Just curious. > > > > Ellen > > -- > > Ellen Noonan > > American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning > > The Graduate Center, City University of New York > > 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11 > > New York, NY 10016 > > enoonan@gc.cuny.edu > > http://www.ashp.cuny.edu > > > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at > > http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 00:10:49 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Linda Shopes Subject: more . . . MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_aa.18afd100.2b870ed9_boundary" --part1_aa.18afd100.2b870ed9_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Thanks to all for the recent flurry of converstation - I guess our East Coast colleagues are digging out from the snow. Before responding to these though, I first want to thank Tom Murray and Aurora Levins Morales for taking the time to respond to my earlier posting with such detail and thoughfulness. They remind us, I think, that who we interview and what we interview them about depends on the purpose of our project; and make clear that in designing projects we need to negotiate a course between a falsely simplistic "all point of view" approach to oral history - oral history projects are often driven by a point of view, an agenda, as Ms. Levins Morales reminds us - and one that would neglect to talk with individuals who might challenge - or at least complicate - that point of view. In fact, I think interviews with narrators who think differently from the interviewer often result in the richest narratives, if points of difference can become points of creative questioning. And, without being too glib here, I think Mr. Murray's and Ms. Levins Morales's responses illustrate the point that it takes two or three cuts through a topic in an interview to really get to the heart of the matter. Mr. Murray's comments about interveiwing Vietnam Vets also reminds me that Mike Frisch has a wonderful essay in A Shared Authority about the TV documentary on Vietnam of some years ago, in which he disects the implicit bias in a presumably "all points of view" use of oral history. About using exisitng interviews in history and related courses - good point! Donna Sharra points out that the oral histories from Hard Times that she used in a discussion of the Depression linger is students' memories. This typical, I think; students - people - are drawn into the narrative quality of interviews - they are often good stories. And they are stories about individuals, not historical abstractions. Yet isn't history about generalizations? How do we go from the individual to the general, without erasing the individual? John Spencer - harking back to my earlier point - notes that narrators often disagree. It seems to me the question for us to ask, in classrooms and in communities, is why individuals hold the views they do, how to explain these differences. And what sort of explanation can we develop that holds all (well, maybe not all) these different views within a larger interpretive frame, that creates a coherent historical explanation of the topic at hand that explains the disparate views. Carole Adams's comments about using slave narratives in class brings to mind one of my favorite exercises, taken from Davidson and Lytle's After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. Davidson and Lytle identify two interviews with the same ex-slave in the WPA collection - one done by a white interveiwer, one by a black. They are somewhat different in substance; vastly different in tone. It's interesting to get students to decide which is which - many invariably get it wrong, reflecting today's racial climate, I think, which opens up a whole discussing of the way "the present" impinges upon our read of any source. How else to people use existing interviews to teach history? And any community/public historians out there? How is oral history a part of your work? And for those concerned with the accuracy of narrators' recall - subjectivity notwithstanding - how can we help ensure full, thoughtful responses on the part of narrators, try to get it right? Linda Shopes This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_aa.18afd100.2b870ed9_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Thanks to all for the recent flurry of converstation -= I guess our East Coast colleagues are digging out from the snow.  Befo= re responding to these though, I first want to thank Tom Murray and Aurora L= evins Morales for taking the time to respond to my earlier posting with such= detail and thoughfulness.  They remind us, I think, that who we interv= iew and what we interview them about depends on the purpose of our project;=20= and make clear that in designing projects we need to negotiate a course betw= een a falsely simplistic "all point of view" approach to oral history - oral= history projects are often driven by a point of view, an agenda, as Ms. Lev= ins Morales reminds us - and one that would neglect to talk with individuals= who might challenge - or at least complicate - that point of view. &nb= sp; In fact, I think interviews with narrators who think differently from th= e interviewer often result in the richest narratives, if points of differenc= e can become points of creative questioning.  And, without being too gl= ib here, I think Mr. Murray's and Ms. Levins Morales's responses  illus= trate the point that it takes two or three cuts through a topic in an interv= iew to really get to the heart of the matter.   Mr. Murray's comme= nts about interveiwing Vietnam Vets also reminds me that Mike Frisch has a w= onderful essay in A Shared Authority about the TV documentary on Viet= nam of some years ago, in which he disects the implicit bias in a presumably= "all points of view" use of oral history.

About using exisitng interviews in history and related courses - good point!=    Donna Sharra points out that the oral histories from Hard Ti= mes that she used in a discussion of the Depression linger is students'=20= memories.  This typical, I think;   students - people - are d= rawn into the narrative quality of interviews - they are often good stories.=   And they are stories about individuals, not historical abstractions.&= nbsp;   

Yet isn't history about generalizations?  How do we go from the individ= ual to the general, without erasing the individual?  John Spencer - har= king back to my earlier point - notes that narrators often disagree.  I= t seems to me the question for us to ask, in classrooms and in communities,=20= is why individuals hold the views they do, how to explain these differences.=   And what sort of explanation can we develop that holds all (well, may= be not all) these different views within a larger interpretive frame, that c= reates a coherent historical explanation of the topic at hand that explains=20= the disparate views.  

Carole Adams's comments about using slave narratives in class brings to mind= one of my favorite exercises, taken from Davidson and Lytle's After the=20= Fact: The Art of Historical Detection.  Davidson and Lytle identify= two interviews with the same ex-slave in the WPA collection - one done by a= white interveiwer, one by a black.  They are somewhat different in sub= stance; vastly different in tone.  It's interesting to get students to=20= decide which is which - many invariably get it wrong, reflecting today's rac= ial climate, I think, which opens up a whole discussing of the way "the pres= ent" impinges upon our read of any source. 
 
How else to people use existing interviews to teach history?  And any c= ommunity/public historians out there?  How is oral history a part of yo= ur work?  And for those concerned with the accuracy of narrators' recal= l - subjectivity notwithstanding - how can we help ensure full, thoughtful r= esponses on the part of narrators, try to get it right?

Linda Shopes
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_aa.18afd100.2b870ed9_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 12:42:28 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Bea Roeder Subject: Re: more . . . In-Reply-To: MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="0-1672955043-1045860148=:90627" --0-1672955043-1045860148=:90627 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii I, too, a folklorist, have appreciated the thoughtful responses to this forum. I'm embarking on my seventh or so community oral history project, but this one is temporarily stymied by what seem to be too many cooks stirring the broth. Is there such a thing as an agreed-upon job description for an oral history project director? At the steering committee's request, I wrote up a detailed job description and schedule of activities, since they couldn't quite believe it would take the project director 40 days to work with volunteers to complete a set of 10-15 interviews, including logs and transcriptions (they picked the number ten; I would have shot higher), publicize the process and plan a final "harvest" celebration. Right now it looks like half my time will go to revising the job description--which may prove worthwhile, since it seems several issues need to be talked through, especially since most community members are volunteering their time and want to define what "billable" time is. It would be easier to do, log and transcribe the interviews myself, but, as this forum has pointed out, much of the value of oral history is in the DOING: participating in the process and getting to really know other members of one's own community. Can anyone comment on how to handle such mundane-to-important portions of an oral history project as time spent in phone calls and other correspondence, planning and executing such things as publicity, seeing that grant requirements are met, and stepping in when a volunteer can't finish what they started? Bea Roeder, Folklorist bearoeder@yahoo.com Colorado Springs & Denver, Colorado 303 623-1527 --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1672955043-1045860148=:90627 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii

I, too, a folklorist, have appreciated the thoughtful responses to this forum.

I'm embarking on my seventh or so community oral history project, but this one is temporarily stymied by what seem to be too many cooks stirring the broth.  Is there such a thing as an agreed-upon job description for an oral history project director?

At the steering committee's request, I wrote up a detailed job description and schedule of activities, since they couldn't quite believe it would take the project director 40 days to work with volunteers to complete a set of 10-15 interviews, including logs and transcriptions (they picked the number ten; I would have shot higher), publicize the process and plan a final "harvest" celebration. Right now it looks like half my time will go to revising the job description--which may prove worthwhile, since it seems several issues need to be talked through, especially since most community members are volunteering their time and want to define what "billable" time is.  

It would be easier to do, log and transcribe the interviews myself, but, as this forum has pointed out, much of the value of oral history is in the DOING: participating in the process and getting to really know other members of one's own community.

Can anyone comment on how to handle such mundane-to-important portions of an oral history project as time spent in phone calls and other correspondence,  planning and executing such things as publicity, seeing that grant requirements are met, and stepping in when a volunteer can't finish what they started?



Bea Roeder, Folklorist    bearoeder@yahoo.com

Colorado Springs & Denver, Colorado

303 623-1527



Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1672955043-1045860148=:90627-- ========================================================================= Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 00:54:41 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Aurora Levins Morales Subject: Re: more . . . MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Dear Bea-- Oh, yes! Been there! My first project the funder was the board of a=20 community organization that had never funded anything before and couldn't=20 believe that interviews took as long as they did to set up, do, and summariz= e=20 (without even full transcription). I kept a meticulous log of everything I=20 did for a few weeks, and shared it with them. Something like this: Fourth=20 phone call to Vargas family, talked to a different niece or nephew each time= .=20 The 90 minute drive to home of Maldonados, who insisted on feeding me before= =20 the interview, which is an important part of the process, at least in Latino= =20 homes, and then a 3 hour interview and listing the most significant family=20 photos to copy at a future date, which includes listening to the stories=20 attached to each one and trying to get precise dates and places, then the 90= =20 minute drive home, typing up my field notes, making calls to six other=20 potential subjects, three of which involved explaining in detail who I was,=20 what the project was about, why I thought their stories mattered, asking som= e=20 preinterview questions, hearing about rivalries between community=20 organizations that would clearly impact my access to some informants if I=20 wasn't careful, trying to stop the pre-interview from becoming an unrecorded= =20 oral history on the spot and then trying to pin down a specific time for=20 theinterview and explaining that it really would take severalhours, even if=20 they didn;t think they hadthat much to say,--and then lying down to recover=20 from having absorbed an eighty year life story in several large gulps. =20 And that was when I wasn't supervising or training anyone. It's hard to= =20 explain the kind of skills you need to acquire to be a good interviewer. =20 It's one of those jobs that looks easy until you try it. The youth I traine= d=20 seemed to think it would be a breeze until they did their first practice=20 interview and realized the it took a lot of attention to draw someone out,=20 keep them on topic, not forget to get details, and cope with the sudden=20 revelation of a family tragedy, with all the emotion that entails. =20 Fortunately when I was training, I worked for museum professionals and didn'= t=20 have to justify my hours. I found that telling a lot of stories to the=20 community organization about what it really takes to collect ten oral=20 histories and document them properly, and presenting them with a log early=20 on, helped them understand that I was actually working far more hours than I= =20 was paid for. Good luck! Aurora Levins Morales ****************************************************************************= ** *********** Praise for Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of=20 Puertorrique=F1as=20 by Aurora Levins Morales, South End Press 2001 "Captivating language and enticing cadence are characteristics of the =20 enchanting prose Levins Morales employs in this gathering of uniquely=20 realized vignettes...Exciting melange of stories ultimately affirming the=20 empowerment of women." Booklist "There is no other book like Remedios. It is history, anthropology, poetry,= =20 and myth; it is a song and a prayer. Aurora Levins Morales is a Jewish Latin= a=20 curandera who embraces diverse legacies with passion and eloquence. In=20 stories so beautifully told they soar off the page...she offers us remedies=20 that heal our bodies and souls and feed our spirits of our many forgotten=20 ancestors." Ruth Behar, author of The Vulnerable Observer And for Telling To Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios by the Latina Feminist=20 Group (Duke, 2001) "Telling to Live may be one of the most important books published in the las= t=20 few decades. Latinas collectively have not had a book like this before that=20 features so many different backgrounds and cultures...The inclusion of all=20 these mix-and-match identifications is what makes this book required readin= g=20 in women's studies classes all across the globe." Jocelyn Climent, in Bust Coming soon! Shema: Writings on Love and War is an original and probing=20 exploration of integrity and betrayal, violence and reconciliation,=20 sexuality, masculinity, shame and power, from the global to the intimately=20 personal, as she weaves together war in the Middle East with the sudden=20 disintegration of her marriage as the result of her husband's midlife crisis= =20 affair with a much younger woman. Spoken word CD and book. CD available now=20 at RemediosCenter@aol.com This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 12:44:05 -0200 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Donna Sharer Subject: Re: more . . . MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=--__JNP_000_025a.15c8.4e6c This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible. ----__JNP_000_025a.15c8.4e6c Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit I've appreciated this forum. There aren't other teachers where I work using oral history so I don't have anyone to "bounce" around ideas. Couple of questions - What is the difference between an interview and an oral history interview? For example, I have two speakers coming to class in March who will be interviewed about our school district's desegregation policy in the late 1970s / early 1980s (Philadelphia, PA). We will also interview 8 - 9 teachers who were at our school (a large neighborhood high school) for 25 or more years about their memories of how the desegregation policy was enforced / accepted / not accepted / etc. by staff and students. (I'm trying to find some alumni from the time period but haven't gotten anywhere...) Are these oral history interviews or interviews? Is oral history when it is personal / narrative vs. informational? One of the experts coming in March is a lawyer who has worked on the issue for over 20 years. I'm sure he has personal stories - not just knowledge of the legal decisions. Though I know textbook history is about generalizations, what often "hooks" students is the personal. For example, I'm doing a unit on U.S. expansion / colonization in the 19th / early 20th century and connecting it with current U.S. policy regarding Iraq. We can list the pro / con arguments re: the Mexican American War but what "hooks" students is the personal - how it affected the lives of real people in real ways. The personal also is full of ambiguity and contradictions but I also think that "hooks" students. Our lives are full of ambiguity and contradictions. What do other teachers / historians do to use the "hook" of the personal to move students to the generalizations? How much time do you spend looking at what influences the person's opinions / memories? (For example, when we interview teachers regarding the school's desegregation policies, do I discuss the ethnicity the teachers with the students if there appears to be a difference in responses from Euro vs. African American teachers? The School Dist. also had a policy of "racial balance" for staff - some of the teachers left our school for 1 year because there were too many Euro-Am. teachers. That might influence their memories. Do we need to know this? ) If we interview alumni, should we know if the students attended because of desegregation policies or it was their neighborhood high school? Do we need to consider if the student was active in extra curricular activities? (This probably influences their memories.) I don't want to psychoanalyze each respondent - how do we use the oral histories / memories to find "truths" while recognizing there isn't necessarily one broad generalization regarding how the desegregation worked? thanks Donna Sharer On Fri, 21 Feb 2003 00:10:49 EST Linda Shopes writes: Thanks to all for the recent flurry of converstation - I guess our East Coast colleagues are digging out from the snow. Before responding to these though, I first want to thank Tom Murray and Aurora Levins Morales for taking the time to respond to my earlier posting with such detail and thoughfulness. They remind us, I think, that who we interview and what we interview them about depends on the purpose of our project; and make clear that in designing projects we need to negotiate a course between a falsely simplistic "all point of view" approach to oral history - oral history projects are often driven by a point of view, an agenda, as Ms. Levins Morales reminds us - and one that would neglect to talk with individuals who might challenge - or at least complicate - that point of view. In fact, I think interviews with narrators who think differently from the interviewer often result in the richest narratives, if points of difference can become points of creative questioning. And, without being too glib here, I think Mr. Murray's and Ms. Levins Morales's responses illustrate the point that it takes two or three cuts through a topic in an interview to really get to the heart of the matter. Mr. Murray's comments about interveiwing Vietnam Vets also reminds me that Mike Frisch has a wonderful essay in A Shared Authority about the TV documentary on Vietnam of some years ago, in which he disects the implicit bias in a presumably "all points of view" use of oral history. About using exisitng interviews in history and related courses - good point! Donna Sharra points out that the oral histories from Hard Times that she used in a discussion of the Depression linger is students' memories. This typical, I think; students - people - are drawn into the narrative quality of interviews - they are often good stories. And they are stories about individuals, not historical abstractions. Yet isn't history about generalizations? How do we go from the individual to the general, without erasing the individual? John Spencer - harking back to my earlier point - notes that narrators often disagree. It seems to me the question for us to ask, in classrooms and in communities, is why individuals hold the views they do, how to explain these differences. And what sort of explanation can we develop that holds all (well, maybe not all) these different views within a larger interpretive frame, that creates a coherent historical explanation of the topic at hand that explains the disparate views. Carole Adams's comments about using slave narratives in class brings to mind one of my favorite exercises, taken from Davidson and Lytle's After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. Davidson and Lytle identify two interviews with the same ex-slave in the WPA collection - one done by a white interveiwer, one by a black. They are somewhat different in substance; vastly different in tone. It's interesting to get students to decide which is which - many invariably get it wrong, reflecting today's racial climate, I think, which opens up a whole discussing of the way "the present" impinges upon our read of any source. How else to people use existing interviews to teach history? And any community/public historians out there? How is oral history a part of your work? And for those concerned with the accuracy of narrators' recall - subjectivity notwithstanding - how can we help ensure full, thoughtful responses on the part of narrators, try to get it right? Linda Shopes This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ----__JNP_000_025a.15c8.4e6c Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
I've appreciated this forum.  There aren't other teachers where I= work=20 using oral history so I don't have anyone to "bounce" around ideas.
Couple of questions - What is the difference between an interview and = an=20 oral history interview?  For example, I have two speakers coming to = class=20 in March who will be interviewed about our school district's desegregation= =20 policy in the late 1970s / early 1980s (Philadelphia, PA).  We will = also=20 interview 8 - 9 teachers who were at our school (a large neighborhood high= =20 school)  for 25 or more years about their memories of how the = desegregation=20 policy was enforced / accepted / not accepted / etc. by staff and=20 students.  (I'm trying to find some alumni from the time period but = haven't=20 gotten anywhere...)  Are these oral history interviews or interviews?&= nbsp;=20 Is oral history when it is personal / narrative vs. informational?  = One of=20 the experts coming in March is a lawyer who has worked on the issue for = over 20=20 years.  I'm sure he has personal stories  - not just knowledge of= the=20 legal decisions. 
 
Though I know textbook history is about generalizations, what often "= hooks"=20 students is the personal.  For example, I'm doing a unit on U.S. = expansion=20 / colonization in the 19th / early 20th century and connecting it with = current=20 U.S. policy regarding Iraq.  We can list the pro / con arguments re: = the=20 Mexican American War but what "hooks" students is the personal - how it = affected=20 the lives of real people in real ways.  The personal also is full of=20 ambiguity and contradictions but I also think that "hooks" students.  = Our=20 lives are full of ambiguity and contradictions.  What do other = teachers /=20 historians do to use the "hook" of the personal to move students to the=20 generalizations?  How much time do you spend looking at what = influences the=20 person's opinions / memories?  (For example,  when we interview=20 teachers regarding the school's desegregation policies, do I discuss the=20 ethnicity the teachers with the students if there appears to be a = difference in=20 responses from Euro vs. African American teachers?  The School Dist. = also=20 had a policy of "racial balance" for staff - some of the teachers left our= =20 school for 1 year because there were too many Euro-Am. teachers.  That= =20 might influence their memories.  Do we need to know this? )  If = we=20 interview alumni, should we know if the students attended because of=20 desegregation policies or it was their neighborhood high school?  Do = we=20 need to consider if the student was active in extra curricular activities? = (This=20 probably influences their memories.)  I don't want to psychoanalyze = each=20 respondent - how do we use the oral histories / memories to find "truths" = while=20 recognizing there isn't necessarily one broad generalization regarding how = the=20 desegregation worked?    
 
thanks
 
Donna Sharer
 
On Fri, 21 Feb 2003 00:10:49 EST Linda Shopes <Lshopes@AOL.COM> writes:
Thanks to all for the recent flurry of converstation= - I=20 guess our East Coast colleagues are digging out from the snow.  = Before=20 responding to these though, I first want to thank Tom Murray and Aurora = Levins=20 Morales for taking the time to respond to my earlier posting with such = detail=20 and thoughfulness.  They remind us, I think, that who we interview = and=20 what we interview them about depends on the purpose of our project; and = make=20 clear that in designing projects we need to negotiate a course between a= =20 falsely simplistic "all point of view" approach to oral history - oral = history=20 projects are often driven by a point of view, an agenda, as Ms. Levins = Morales=20 reminds us - and one that would neglect to talk with individuals who = might=20 challenge - or at least complicate - that point of view.   In = fact,=20 I think interviews with narrators who think differently from the = interviewer=20 often result in the richest narratives, if points of difference can = become=20 points of creative questioning.  And, without being too glib here, I= =20 think Mr. Murray's and Ms. Levins Morales's responses  illustrate = the=20 point that it takes two or three cuts through a topic in an interview to= =20 really get to the heart of the matter.   Mr. Murray's comments = about=20 interveiwing Vietnam Vets also reminds me that Mike Frisch has a = wonderful=20 essay in A Shared Authority about the TV documentary on Vietnam of= some=20 years ago, in which he disects the implicit bias in a presumably "all = points=20 of view" use of oral history.

About using exisitng interviews in=20 history and related courses - good point!   Donna Sharra points= out=20 that the oral histories from Hard Times that  she used in a=20 discussion of the Depression linger is students' memories.  This = typical,=20 I think;   students - people - are drawn into the narrative = quality=20 of interviews - they are often good stories.  And they are stories = about=20 individuals, not historical abstractions.    
Yet=20 isn't history about generalizations?  How do we go from the = individual to=20 the general, without erasing the individual?  John Spencer - harking= back=20 to my earlier point - notes that narrators often disagree.  It seems= to=20 me the question for us to ask, in classrooms and in communities, is why=20 individuals hold the views they do, how to explain these differences.&= nbsp;=20 And what sort of explanation can we develop that holds all (well, maybe = not=20 all) these different views within a larger interpretive frame, that = creates a=20 coherent historical explanation of the topic at hand that explains the=20 disparate views.  

Carole Adams's comments about using = slave=20 narratives in class brings to mind one of my favorite exercises, taken = from=20 Davidson and Lytle's After the Fact: The Art of Historical=20 Detection.  Davidson and Lytle identify two interviews with the = same=20 ex-slave in the WPA collection - one done by a white interveiwer, one by = a=20 black.  They are somewhat different in substance; vastly different = in=20 tone.  It's interesting to get students to decide which is which - = many=20 invariably get it wrong, reflecting today's racial climate, I think, = which=20 opens up a whole discussing of the way "the present" impinges upon our = read of=20 any source. 
 
How else to people use existing = interviews to=20 teach history?  And any community/public historians out there? = How=20 is oral history a part of your work?  And for those concerned with = the=20 accuracy of narrators' recall - subjectivity notwithstanding - how can we= help=20 ensure full, thoughtful responses on the part of narrators, try to get it= =20 right?

Linda Shopes
This forum is sponsored by History=20 Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for = more=20 resources for teaching U.S. History.
 
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ----__JNP_000_025a.15c8.4e6c-- ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 11:38:19 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Barbara Egypt Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it In-Reply-To: MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="0-1668768564-1046029099=:72555" --0-1668768564-1046029099=:72555 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Hello, all - Thanks for all the postings! As a teacher of African American Studies I have always used the Oral Histories of former slaves, and more recently those relating to Women's Issues. The slave histories were taken down by the WPA during the 1930's in an effort to document what really happend. However, believe it or not, there were several interviews wherein the interviewers were told "slavery was wonderful." In B. A. Botkins, Lay My Burden Down: An Oral History of Slavery, one woman related, "I could tell you about it all day, but I could never tell you the awfullness of it." Unfortunately, our schools fail to use these histories for the most part. And many kids grow up thinking that slavery was "just wonderful." Recent scholarship has uncovered literally hundreds of slave oral documents.Perhaps Americans (Blacks as well as Whites) just don't want to analyze some of these "histories" and to confront the implications therein. "Also, I understand from my current reading of Ray A. Young Bear's. Black Eagle Child, that there have been efforts to record the lives of Native Americans. I attended a two-day seminar a couple of years ago on Oral History at the College of New Rochelle and from that created a curriculum to help students use oral history. I have taught both high school and university.Barbara A. Egypt begypt@yahoo.com. "Noonan, Ellen" wrote:There has been great discussion so far on the oral history projects people are doing with students and the many complexities of practice and interpretation that they involve. But I'm curious about how people teach with existing oral history accounts. For example, we have 150 oral histories posted in the Many Pasts section of History Matters (some quite recently added on the post WWII period). Does anyone assign students to read/listen to these oral histories, or oral histories from other sources? What do you ask students to do with them? Do you as teachers use them for your own preparation? Just curious. Ellen -- Ellen Noonan American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning The Graduate Center, City University of New York 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11 New York, NY 10016 enoonan@gc.cuny.edu http://www.ashp.cuny.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1668768564-1046029099=:72555 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii

Hello, all -

Thanks for all the postings! As a teacher of African American Studies I have always used the Oral Histories of former slaves, and more recently those relating to Women's Issues. The slave histories were taken down by the WPA during the 1930's in an effort to document what really happend. However, believe it or not, there were several interviews wherein the interviewers were told "slavery was wonderful." In B. A. Botkins, Lay My Burden Down: An Oral History of Slavery, one woman related, "I could tell you about it all day, but I could never tell you the awfullness of it." Unfortunately, our schools fail to use these histories for the most part. And many kids grow up thinking that slavery was "just wonderful." Recent scholarship has uncovered literally hundreds of slave oral documents.Perhaps Americans (Blacks as well as Whites) just don't want to analyze some of these "histories" and to confront the implications therein. "Also, I understand from my current reading of Ray A. Young Bear's. Black Eagle Child, that there have been efforts to record the lives of Native Americans. I attended a two-day seminar a couple of years ago on Oral History at the College of New Rochelle and from that created a curriculum to help students use oral history. I have taught both high school and university.Barbara A. Egypt begypt@yahoo.com.

 "Noonan, Ellen" <ENoonan@GC.CUNY.EDU> wrote:

There has been great discussion so far on the oral history projects people
are doing with students and the many complexities of practice and
interpretation that they involve. But I'm curious about how people teach
with existing oral history accounts. For example, we have 150 oral histories
posted in the Many Pasts section of History Matters (some quite recently
added on the post WWII period). Does anyone assign students to read/listen
to these oral histories, or oral histories from other sources? What do you
ask students to do with them? Do you as teachers use them for your own
preparation?

Just curious.

Ellen
--
Ellen Noonan
American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning
The Graduate Center, City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.11
New York, NY 10016
enoonan@gc.cuny.edu
http://www.ashp.cuny.edu

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.



Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1668768564-1046029099=:72555-- ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 20:13:51 -0500 Reply-To: cpitton@ae21.org Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Charity Pitton Subject: Using oral history, teen savvy, and generalizations MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit I work for a high-school distance learning project. The majority of my students come from low-income families and are African-American. They have limited resources, and we do as much as possible without texts. (The money goes to a computer and an internet connection instead.) I want to applaud those who have worked to get oral histories - or any primary source - available on the internet. Sites like the American Memory Project not only bring richness to existing US history texts, but have been the main resource for students such as mine. I have the privilege/challenge of using the primary sources I find on the internet to a great extent. Perhaps because of this, I have not heard one of them refer to slavery as "wonderful." (Also perhaps because they are predominantly African-American.) I have noticed some back-and-forth discussion about making sure students understand they can't take everything in these oral histories at face value. I think teenagers pretty much get that already. They're skeptical of everything, and pretty savvy in their ability to see through someone's agenda. And in my experience, if you invite them to be skeptical of the stuff they have to read for their homework, they'll jump at the chance. A few have needed prodding to start thinking, but most of them love the opportunity to be critical. I haven't needed to remind them more than once or twice that the interviewer or interviewee may see only one version of the story. FWIW, in terms of trying to get them to the generalizations, rather than just focusing on the individual's story, I use a deductive, rather than inductive process: Here's the generalization; here are ten oral histories about this generalization. Which support the generalization, which don't support it, and why do you think we still believe that generalization to be true if there are oral histories showing the opposite? All of my classes have needed some of that process before I could switch them to inductive reasoning, and some I was never able to switch. If they weren't able to move from the oral histories to the generalizations - if they couldn't use an inductive process effectively - then I kept teaching the generalizations and used the oral histories to "liven them up," using a deductive process instead. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 20:27:29 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Cathy Stephenson Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_3e.2c60ec99.2b8acf01_boundary" --part1_3e.2c60ec99.2b8acf01_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Greetings Barbara, I am so pleased and grateful that you offer oral history experiences to students focused on slaves voices, and am also interested in the voices of Native American Women. Do you happen to have any books or websites where one could go to for further education in these oral histories? I am looking to expand my education since I was saturated with white male perspectives through my public school education. I am 45 years old and feel so deprived concerning the many voices of history in this country I was born and raised in. Grateful and In Spirit, Cathy Stephenson, Union Carpenter, 14 years This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_3e.2c60ec99.2b8acf01_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Greetings Barbara,
I am so pleased and grateful that you offer oral history experiences to=20= students focused on slaves voices, and am also interested in the voices of N= ative American Women. Do you happen to have any books or websites where one=20= could go to for further education in these oral histories? I am looking to e= xpand my education since I was saturated with white male perspectives throug= h my public school education. I am 45 years old and feel so deprived concern= ing the many voices of history in this country I was born and raised in.
Grateful and In Spirit,
Cathy Stephenson, Union Carpenter, 14 years
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_3e.2c60ec99.2b8acf01_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 11:33:45 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Ritchie, Don (Secretary)" Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----_=_NextPart_001_01C2DC22.80004B2B" This is a multi-part message in MIME format. ------_=_NextPart_001_01C2DC22.80004B2B Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable A new and worthwhile web site dealing with the slave narratives is the = Time Classroom on the recent HBO documentary, "Unchained Memories: = Readings from the Slave Narratives," which offers a classroom guide and = links to other related sites: = http://www.time.com/time/classroom/unchained/resources.html =20 Don Ritchie -----Original Message----- From: Cathy Stephenson [mailto:CATSTEP16@AOL.COM] Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 8:27 PM To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU Subject: Re: using oral history rather than creating it Greetings Barbara,=20 I am so pleased and grateful that you offer oral history experiences to = students focused on slaves voices, and am also interested in the voices = of Native American Women. Do you happen to have any books or websites = where one could go to for further education in these oral histories? I = am looking to expand my education since I was saturated with white male = perspectives through my public school education. I am 45 years old and = feel so deprived concerning the many voices of history in this country I = was born and raised in.=20 Grateful and In Spirit,=20 Cathy Stephenson, Union Carpenter, 14 years This forum is sponsored by = History Matters--please visit our Web site at = http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. = History.=20 This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------_=_NextPart_001_01C2DC22.80004B2B Content-Type: text/html; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
A new=20 and worthwhile web site dealing with the slave narratives is the = Time=20 Classroom on the recent HBO documentary, "Unchained Memories: Readings = from the=20 Slave Narratives," which offers a classroom guide and links to = other=20 related sites: http= ://www.time.com/time/classroom/unchained/resources.html=
 
Don=20 Ritchie
-----Original Message-----
From: Cathy Stephenson=20 [mailto:CATSTEP16@AOL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 = 8:27=20 PM
To: = ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU
Subject:=20 Re: using oral history rather than creating = it

Greetings Barbara,
I am so = pleased and=20 grateful that you offer oral history experiences to students focused = on slaves=20 voices, and am also interested in the voices of Native American Women. = Do you=20 happen to have any books or websites where one could go to for further = education in these oral histories? I am looking to expand my education = since I=20 was saturated with white male perspectives through my public school = education.=20 I am 45 years old and feel so deprived concerning the many voices of = history=20 in this country I was born and raised in.
Grateful and In Spirit,=20
Cathy Stephenson, Union Carpenter, 14 years
This forum is = sponsored=20 by History Matters--please visit our Web site at = http://historymatters.gmu.edu=20 for more resources for teaching U.S. History. =
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------_=_NextPart_001_01C2DC22.80004B2B-- ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 17:31:19 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Lisa Rubens Subject: oral history and video "oral" histories I hope I'm not repeating a thread of discussion, but do you have a strong opinion about the strength and weakness of video oral histories? Our office increasingly is using video and when used to also capture a setting -tour a work plac e, look at scrap books, etc- it's terrific. Then there is the position that Sherna Gluck takes, as exemplified in the archives at California State University at Fullerton, that only the aural document should be available. On another note, you asked about cold war sources. I wonder how the film Salt of the Earth resonates today? There are two websites regarding this l954 film: one on the suppression of the film; another on the 50th anniversary of the making of the film, held next week end at in Santa Fe. Google can link to these sites. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 17:23:53 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Barbara Egypt Subject: Re: oral history and video "oral" histories In-Reply-To: MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="0-1391647581-1046136233=:38462" --0-1391647581-1046136233=:38462 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Lisa- Using videos is okay. Another point may be getting the permission of the person interviewed. We developed a form for this. People may not generally want their personal image to be available: sometimes their relatives might object. Once it's done it's out there and it's accessible unless there are certain protocols in place.begypt@yahoo.com. Lisa Rubens wrote:I hope I'm not repeating a thread of discussion, but do you have a strong opinion about the strength and weakness of video oral histories? Our office increasingly is using video and when used to also capture a setting -tour a work plac e, look at scrap books, etc- it's terrific. Then there is the position that Sherna Gluck takes, as exemplified in the archives at California State University at Fullerton, that only the aural document should be available. On another note, you asked about cold war sources. I wonder how the film Salt of the Earth resonates today? There are two websites regarding this l954 film: one on the suppression of the film; another on the 50th anniversary of the making of the film, held next week end at in Santa Fe. Google can link to these sites. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1391647581-1046136233=:38462 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii

Lisa-

Using videos is okay. Another point may be getting the permission of the person interviewed. We developed a form for this. People may not generally want their personal image to be available: sometimes their relatives might object. Once it's done it's out there and it's accessible unless there are certain protocols in place.begypt@yahoo.com.

 Lisa Rubens <lrubens@SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:

I hope I'm not repeating a thread of discussion, but do you have a strong opinion about the strength and weakness of
video oral histories? Our office increasingly is using video and when used to also capture a setting -tour a work plac
e, look at scrap books, etc- it's terrific. Then there is the position that Sherna Gluck takes, as exemplified in the archives at California State
University at Fullerton, that only the aural document should be available.

On another note, you asked about cold war sources. I wonder how the film Salt of the Earth resonates today? There are two websites regarding
this l954 film: one on the suppression of the film; another on the 50th anniversary of the making of the film, held next week end at in Santa Fe.
Google can link to these sites.

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.



Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1391647581-1046136233=:38462-- ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 21:01:52 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Noonan, Ellen" Subject: FW: Oral Histories of Native American Women In-Reply-To: <20030225013842.91445.qmail@web20805.mail.yahoo.com> Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary="MS_Mac_OE_3128965312_503885_MIME_Part" > This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible. --MS_Mac_OE_3128965312_503885_MIME_Part Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit ---------- From: Barbara Egypt Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 17:38:42 -0800 (PST) To: enoonan@GC.CUNY.EDU Subject: Oral Histories of Native American Women Ms. Noonan - Someone asked me about Native American Women and I inadvertently deleted the sender. The book I referenced is American Indian Women Telling Their Lives, Gretchen M. Bataille and Kathleen Mullen Sands. 1984, University of Nebraska Press. I picked it up second-hand and it may not be available now. However, there is a great biblio there, and it would be a good start. e.g. From the biblio: Medicine, Bea (Sioux) "The Anthropologist as the Indian's Image Maker." 'Medicine discusses how the Indian image has been created by outsiders and that when the Indian presents his or her own history there are accusations of subjectivity or ethnocentrism.' For anyone interested in that topic (Native American Women) there is a great deal of material today, well, at least much more than there was nearly three decades ago.. begypt@yahoo.com. _____ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --MS_Mac_OE_3128965312_503885_MIME_Part Content-type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable FW: Oral Histories of Native American Women

----------
From: Barbara Egypt <begypt@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 17:38:42 -0800 (PST)
To: enoonan@GC.CUNY.EDU
Subject: Oral Histories of Native American Women


Ms. Noonan -

Someone asked me about Native American Women and I inadvertently = deleted the sender. The book I referenced is American Indian Women = Telling Their Lives, Gretchen M. Bataille and Kathleen Mullen = Sands. 1984, University of Nebraska Press.  I picked it up = second-hand and it may not be available now. However, there is a great = biblio there, and it would be a good start.  e.g. From the biblio: = Medicine, Bea (Sioux) "The Anthropologist as the Indian's Image = Maker."  'Medicine discusses how the Indian image has been = created by outsiders and that when the Indian presents his or her own = history there are accusations of subjectivity or ethnocentrism.' =  For anyone interested in that topic (Native American Women) there = is a great deal of material today, well, at least much more than there = was nearly three decades ago.. begypt@yahoo.com.




Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center = <http://rd.yahoo.com/finance/mailtagline/*http://taxes.yahoo.com/>=  - forms, calculators, tips, and more
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --MS_Mac_OE_3128965312_503885_MIME_Part-- ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 22:55:18 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Linda Shopes Subject: even more on oral history MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_1ce.39354ba.2b8c4326_boundary" --part1_1ce.39354ba.2b8c4326_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Thanks for all the postings over the last few days. The various and creative ways people are using oral history in classrooms and communities are really quite exciting, and fascinating to learn about. Clearly oral history does hook students (as Donna Sharrer says); clearly it opens up all sorts interesting questions about how people - and historians - make sense of the past. And thanks so much to C. Pitton for reminding us that it often doesn't take much to get students to think critically, to figure out where someone is coming from. Pitton's deductive/inductive approach to connecting individual stories to broader generalization also seems useful. There's been some very useful exchange of information about resources. Keep it coming, and let me add just a couple of items: For Native American oral histories, look at the website of the South Dakota Oral History Center at the University of S. Dakota at http://usd.edu/iais/oralhist/index.html. And check out the material at the University of Alaska Rasmuson Library Oral History Center at http://www.uaf.edu/library/oralhistory/index.html. A couple of more threads to pick up on: Barbara Egypt and others have noted the rather ameliorative view of slavery presented in some of the 1930s-1940s slave narratives gathered by WPA workers. I think there are at least a couple of reasons for this: Many of the interviewers were white people with some stature in their communities. African American narrators, understanding the racial codes of the time, were concerned about unfavorable consequences that might redound on them if they challenged these codes to a white person's face by emphasizing the brutalities of slavery - this point is made well by Davidson & Lytle in the essay on the slave narratives in After the Fact, noted in a previous posting. Also, most of these interviews were not tape recorded, but "written up" by the interviewer from notes taken during the interview. (White) interviewers might well have consciously or unconsciously changed the meaning of some of what narrators said about slavery. I think this relates to Donna Sharer's question about looking at what shapes what a person remembers and the way s/he remembers is. Scott Ellsworth, writing about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, used the phrase "segregation of memory" to describe the way blacks and whites remembered the riot differently. This, it seems to me, is quite common in oral history. Reviewing interviews done in Pennsylvania during the last three decades, I was struck by how white narrators, when questioned about race relations, tended to say "we all got along," whereas black narrators told stories of segregation, discrimination, insults, and injuries. Where a narrator "is coming from," the experiences they have had, the social space they occupy, invariably shape what they remember and how they interpret what they remember. Our job is to decode that; I don't think it means psychoanalyzing narrators, only seeing them as historical actors, situated in a specific set of social circumstances, and speaking from that position. Of course some narrators can step out of their skin and give a broader view, can be reflective and self-critical within an interview; others cannot. Judgments are in order. But overall, to learn how deeply social our memories are seems to me a good thing. About Bea Roeder's query on the time required to organize a modest (in terms of number of interviews) oral history project: Indeed, while oral history "sounds like fun" and seems easy, its an enormously labor intensive undertaking. I've heard 10:1 quoted as a ratio of hours of preparation: hours of interview (and this doesn't include transcribing). Ms. Roeder, though, is talking about organizing and managing a local project where the interviews will be done by volunteers. In my experience, working with volunteers requires considerable oversight; working with communities requires lots of leg work, hanging out, multiple phone calling, etc. to gain trust, build credibility, and learn "the lay of the land," as well as who to interview, what to interview them about. So, 40 days doesn't seem unreasonable. I would add, however, that the amount of time each interview - or each step of an oral history project - takes diminishes as one accumulates more interviews. Research time diminishes as one knows more about the subject; training is most intensive - and time-consuming - before any interviews are done; policies and procedures are established at the outset, but once in place, they can provide a framework for subsequent work. So, it might ultimately be more cost effective to consider doing a few more interviews than 10. I'm curious to see what participants have to say about video interviews, in response to Lisa Rubens's recent posting. I'd also like to know what have been your experiences posting interviews - student work or your own interviews - on the web. How have you done it? How has it worked? Are there recommended websites for student work? I continue to look forward to what you all have to say. --Linda This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_1ce.39354ba.2b8c4326_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Thanks for all the postings over the last few days.&nb= sp; The various and creative ways people are using oral history in classroom= s and communities are really quite exciting, and fascinating to learn about.=    Clearly oral history does hook students (as Donna Sharrer says)= ; clearly it opens up all sorts interesting questions about how people - and= historians - make sense of the past.  And thanks so much to C. Pitton=20= for reminding us that it often doesn't take much to get students to think cr= itically, to figure out where someone is coming from.   Pitton's d= eductive/inductive approach to connecting individual stories to broader gene= ralization also seems useful.

There's been some very useful exchange of information about resources. = Keep it coming, and let me add just a couple of items:  For Native Ame= rican oral histories, look at the website of the South Dakota Oral History C= enter at the University of S. Dakota at http://usd.edu/iais/oralhist/index.html.  And check= out the material at the University of Alaska Rasmuson Library Oral History=20= Center at http= ://www.uaf.edu/library/oralhistory/index.html

A couple of more threads to pick up on:  Barbara Egypt and others have=20= noted the rather ameliorative view of slavery presented in some of the 1930s= -1940s slave narratives gathered by WPA workers.  I think there are at=20= least a couple of reasons for this:  Many of the interviewers were whit= e people with some stature in their communities.  African American narr= ators, understanding the racial codes of the time, were concerned about unfa= vorable consequences that might redound on them if they challenged these cod= es to a white person's face by emphasizing the brutalities of slavery - this= point is made well by Davidson & Lytle in the essay on the slave narrat= ives in After the Fact, noted in a previous posting.  Also, most= of these interviews were not tape recorded, but "written up" by the intervi= ewer from notes taken during the interview.  (White) interviewers might= well have consciously or unconsciously changed the meaning of some of what=20= narrators said about slavery.  

I think this relates to Donna Sharer's question about looking at what shapes= what a person remembers and the way s/he remembers is.  Scott Ellswort= h, writing about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, used the phrase "segregation o= f memory" to describe the way blacks and whites remembered the riot differen= tly.  This, it seems to me, is quite common in oral history.  Revi= ewing interviews done in Pennsylvania during the last three decades, I was s= truck by how white narrators, when questioned about race relations, tended t= o say "we all got along," whereas black narrators told stories of segregatio= n, discrimination, insults, and injuries.  Where a narrator "is coming=20= from," the experiences they have had, the social space they occupy, invariab= ly shape what they remember and how they interpret what they remember. = Our job is to decode that; I don't think it means psychoanalyzing narrators= , only seeing them as historical actors, situated in a specific set of socia= l circumstances, and speaking from that position.  Of course some narra= tors can step out of their skin and give a broader view, can be reflective a= nd self-critical within an interview; others cannot. 
Judgments are in order.  But overall, to learn how deeply social our me= mories are seems to me a good thing. 

About Bea Roeder's query on the time required to organize a modest (in terms= of number of interviews) oral history project:  Indeed, while oral his= tory "sounds like fun" and seems easy, its an enormously labor intensive und= ertaking.  I've heard 10:1 quoted as a ratio of hours of preparation:&n= bsp; hours of interview (and this doesn't include transcribing).  = Ms. Roeder, though, is talking about organizing and managing a local projec= t where the interviews will be done by volunteers.  In my experience, w= orking with volunteers requires considerable oversight; working with communi= ties requires lots of leg work, hanging out, multiple phone calling, etc. to= gain trust, build credibility, and learn "the lay of the land," as well as=20= who to interview, what to interview them about.   So, 40 days does= n't seem unreasonable.  I would add, however, that the amount of time e= ach interview - or each step of an oral history project - takes diminishes a= s one accumulates more interviews.  Research time diminishes as one kno= ws more about the subject; training is most intensive - and time-consuming -= before any interviews are done; policies and procedures are established at=20= the outset, but once in place, they can provide a framework for subsequent w= ork.  So, it might ultimately be more cost effective to consider doing=20= a few more interviews than 10. 

I'm curious to see what participants have to say about video interviews, in=20= response to Lisa Rubens's recent posting.  I'd also like to know what h= ave been your experiences posting interviews - student work or your own inte= rviews - on the web.  How have you done it?  How has it worked?&nb= sp; Are there recommended websites for student work?

I continue to look forward to what you all have to say.  --Linda
= This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_1ce.39354ba.2b8c4326_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 14:04:41 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Thomas Murray Subject: Oral History and "Video" oral history I've posted many times as to how my high school class does Oral History. We first do email interviews, then move to in-class guest speakers and finally, when we are ready, we do face to face, one on one interviews. We published a book of these interviews called "The Heart of a Warrior" last year. This year since we wanted to improve and press on we decided to video tape all of our classroom guests. We taped from two angles getting student and others responses as well as the main speaker. We decided to stop taping at 30 hours of tape. The final result was a 40 minute edited tape of Oral History that is a great product for high school American History classes. Many people barely get to the Vietnam War as they teach American History. A lot of younger teachers have minimal knowledge of the War and many have limited contacts with veterans. Our video is a powerful presentation that can get emotional at times. Many parents who have watched their student's copy of the video have told me they couldn't hold back the tears. Written Oral History is a great way to engage kids in history, but when you can look into someone's eyes and hear their voice crack as they talk of their fallen buddies it makes an impression on you that won't soon go away. My at-risk students have found renewed interest in history in particular, and school in general, because of this course. Their pride is boundless. Their Oral History video will hopefully take learning to another level for many high school kids everywhere. As a result of this effort one school district in Michigan is buying two class sets of our book and a few videos to study the personal side of the war in their Ameican Hisotry classes this year and many years to come. How about that for a group of kids everybody wanted to throw away!!!!! TOM MURRAY This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 15:38:23 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Eric Chase Subject: What actually defines oral history In-Reply-To: <20030225012353.39966.qmail@web20810.mail.yahoo.com> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="0-1896953374-1046216303=:24559" --0-1896953374-1046216303=:24559 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii I have a couple of questions... What exactly defines oral histories? It seems obvious that someone relating a story verbally whether live or on tape, but what about diary entries? Or published accounts. I recall someone mentioning that Studs Terkel's book Working was considered oral history. Not disputing this, but just curious on what perameters we set. Next Question to Ms Egypt... You wouldn't happen to have a copy of the release form you designed for interviews would you? Surprizingly we don't have an official one here and I would love to see some models before I create one. Thanks you all for an excellent discussion! Eric Chase South Puget Sound Community College Olympia, Washington --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1896953374-1046216303=:24559 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii

I have a couple of questions...

What exactly defines oral histories?  It seems obvious that someone relating a story verbally whether live or on tape, but what about diary entries?  Or published accounts.  I recall someone mentioning that Studs Terkel's book Working was considered oral history.  Not disputing this, but just curious on what perameters we set. 

Next Question to Ms Egypt...

You wouldn't happen to have a copy of the release form you designed for interviews would you?  Surprizingly we don't have an official one here and I would love to see some models before I create one. 

Thanks you all for an excellent discussion!

Eric Chase

South Puget Sound Community College

Olympia, Washington



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Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1896953374-1046216303=:24559-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 11:03:10 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: James Spady Subject: Re: consent form In-Reply-To: <200302260459.h1Q4xI6F025564@mail.wm.edu> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Re: Eric Chase's request. Here is William and Mary's consent form, for any intersted. Is this what you mean by a "release"? Hope it's helpful. -js Participant Informed Consent Form The College of William & Mary The general nature of this study, entitled "." conducted by _______ has been explained to me. I understand that I will be interviewed and participate in focus groups answering questions about and discussing _________________. I also understand that my responses will be confidential, that my anonymity will be preserved, and that my name will not be associated with any results of this study. I know that I may refuse to answer any question asked and may discontinue my participation at any time. I am aware that I may report dissatisfactions with any aspect of this experiment to the Chair of the Protection of Human Subjects Committee, __(Chair name and phone number here) ____. I am aware that I must be at least 18 years of age to participate. My signature below signifies my voluntary participation in this project, and that I have received a copy of this consent form. _________________________ ____________________________ Date Signature ____________________________ Print Name THIS PROJECT WAS APPROVED BY THE COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS COMMITTEE (Phone: 757-221-3901) ON [INSERT DATE] AND EXPIRES ON [INSERT DATE]. James Spady Ph.D. Candidate American Studies Program College Apartments #5 The College of William and Mary Williamsburg, Virginia 23187 This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 15:04:48 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Barbara Egypt Subject: Oral History Consent Form MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="0-1252764651-1046300688=:80439" --0-1252764651-1046300688=:80439 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Hi, all - After reading William and Mary's I would definitely incorporate some of their information re: Consent. Here is the one I sent to Eric: ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Professor Barbara A. Egypt, Ph.D. ORAL HISTORY DONOR FORM I agree to participate in the Drew University Program in African American Studies Oral History Project. I am aware that my interview may be edited and transcribed and then kept on file for use by researchers and may be used in publications and programs based upon the project. I grant permission for my interview to be used for research. Furthermore, I give as an unrestricted gift to the African American Studies Program and the Department of History at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey the tape-recorded interviews and/or transcripts and transfer legal title and all literary rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude any use I myself may make of the information in the recordings and/or transcripts. ____________________________ _______________________________ Name of Interviewer Name of Interviewee (please print) (please print) Signature of Interviewer ________________________________________Signature of Interviewee__________ Address:__________________________________ Telephone:_____________________________Date:__________________________ Barbara A. Egypt. begypt@yahoo.com --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1252764651-1046300688=:80439 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii

Hi, all -

After reading William and Mary's I would definitely incorporate some of their information re: Consent. Here is the one I sent to Eric:

 ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

Professor Barbara A. Egypt, Ph.D.

ORAL HISTORY DONOR FORM

 I agree to participate in the Drew University Program in African American Studies Oral History Project.  I am aware that my interview may be edited and transcribed and then kept on file for use by researchers and may be used in publications and programs based upon the project.  I grant permission for my interview to be used for research.

Furthermore, I give as an unrestricted gift to the African American Studies Program and the Department of History at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey the tape-recorded interviews and/or transcripts and transfer legal title and all literary rights including copyright.  This gift does not preclude any use I myself may make of the information in the recordings and/or transcripts.

 ____________________________                _______________________________

Name of Interviewer                                                              Name of Interviewee

(please print)                                                                          (please print)

 Signature of Interviewer                                                                                                                                         ________________________________________Signature of Interviewee__________

Address:__________________________________                                                                                               

Telephone:_____________________________Date:__________________________                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 Barbara A. Egypt.    begypt@yahoo.com

                                                                                              

                                                                                                

                                                                                                 

 

 

 

 



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Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, and more This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --0-1252764651-1046300688=:80439-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 22:31:34 -0600 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Michael Subject: Creating oral histories as course assignments MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----=_NextPart_000_000B_01C2DDE6.D1A80020" This is a multi-part message in MIME format. ------=_NextPart_000_000B_01C2DDE6.D1A80020 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable I'm really enjoying this discussion, and it comes at a good time as I = revamp my senior seminar in Oral History Methods for next fall. I will = definitely be incorporating some of the sources mentioned in the = discussion as required or suggested readings. I will also no doubt = incorporate points, observations, and discussions in my lectures. I = make a regular habit of mentioning discussion-list materials in my = classes to show students that we continually engage our material no = matter how long we have been out of school, and to impress upon our = majors that one of the great things about being a historian is that we = are members of a large group of very interesting people, and that we are = always learning from each other. =20 In addition to the American history surveys, I also teach a one-semester = frosh survey on Racial and Ethnic Groups in American History. Part of = the course requirement is to do a five-generation ancestor chart, or at = least as much of one as they can. I give them a crash course in = genealogy, but advise them the best place to start is with parents, = grandparents, or other older relatives. Have any of you tried family = history oral history? I could require them to do at least a half-hour = interview with someone in their family about matters of ethnicity. I = live and work in Central Wisconsin, where we not only have Germans, = Poles, Scandinavians, and other European groups, but also several = American Indian tribes, and most recently, large numbers of Hmong = people. Anyone have any thought on this? =20 I had my first experience with oral history as a graduate student doing = oral history of my school (University of Southwestern Louisiana, now = University of Louisiana at Lafayette), so I've decided that next fall = when I do the seminar, everyone will do UWSP oral history. Have any of = you done anything like that, either at the high school or college = levels? =20 =20 While I'm on the seminar, is there an oral history syllabi collection? = I know my course needs work, and would benefit from seeing how other = people do it. =20 Thanks to everyone for making this so interesting and informative. =20 Michael Foret Associate Professor of History University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point mforet@uwsp.edu http://www.uwsp.edu/history/faculty/FORET/FORET.HTM =20 This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------=_NextPart_000_000B_01C2DDE6.D1A80020 Content-Type: text/html; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

I=92m really enjoying this discussion, and it comes at a good = time as I=20 revamp my senior seminar in Oral History Methods for next fall.  I will definitely be = incorporating some=20 of the sources mentioned in the discussion as required or suggested=20 readings.  I will also no = doubt=20 incorporate points, observations, and discussions in my lectures.  I make a regular habit of = mentioning=20 discussion-list materials in my classes to show students that we = continually=20 engage our material no matter how long we have been out of school, and = to=20 impress upon our majors that one of the great things about being a = historian is=20 that we are members of a large group of very interesting people, and = that we are=20 always learning from each other.

 

In addition to the American history surveys, I also teach a = one-semester=20 frosh survey on Racial and Ethnic Groups in American History.  Part of the course requirement = is to do=20 a five-generation ancestor chart, or at least as much of one as they = can.  I give them a crash course in = genealogy,=20 but advise them the best place to start is with parents, grandparents, = or other=20 older relatives.  Have any = of you=20 tried family history oral history? =20 I could require them to do at least a half-hour interview with = someone in=20 their family about matters of ethnicity. =20 I live and work in Central Wisconsin, where we not only have = Germans,=20 Poles, Scandinavians, and other European groups, but also several = American=20 Indian tribes, and most recently, large numbers of Hmong people.  Anyone have any thought on=20 this?

 

I had my first experience with oral history as = a graduate=20 student doing oral history of my school (University of Southwestern = Louisiana,=20 now University of Louisiana at Lafayette), so I=92ve decided that next = fall when I=20 do the seminar, everyone will do UWSP oral history.  Have any of you done anything = like that,=20 either at the high school or college levels? 

 

While I=92m on the seminar, is there an oral history syllabi=20 collection?  I know my = course needs=20 work, and would benefit from seeing how other people do it.

 

Thanks to everyone for making this so interesting and=20 informative.

 

Michael Foret

Associate Professor of History

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

mforet@uwsp.edu

http://www.uwsp.edu/history/faculty/FORET/FORET.HTM

 

This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ------=_NextPart_000_000B_01C2DDE6.D1A80020-- ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 11:49:34 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Jean Choate Subject: Re: Creating oral histories as course assignments In-Reply-To: <000e01c2de19$1d218580$9845aa42@michaelzkw51jb> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed At 10:31 PM 2/26/2003 -0600, you wrote: >I'm really enjoying this discussion, and it comes at a good time as I >revamp my senior seminar in Oral History Methods for next fall. I will >definitely be incorporating some of the sources mentioned in the >discussion as required or suggested readings. I will also no doubt >incorporate points, observations, and discussions in my lectures. I make >a regular habit of mentioning discussion-list materials in my classes to >show students that we continually engage our material no matter how long >we have been out of school, and to impress upon our majors that one of the >great things about being a historian is that we are members of a large >group of very interesting people, and that we are always learning from >each other. > > > >In addition to the American history surveys, I also teach a one-semester >frosh survey on Racial and Ethnic Groups in American History. Part of the >course requirement is to do a five-generation ancestor chart, or at least >as much of one as they can. I give them a crash course in genealogy, but >advise them the best place to start is with parents, grandparents, or >other older relatives. Have any of you tried family history oral >history? I could require them to do at least a half-hour interview with >someone in their family about matters of ethnicity. I live and work in >Central Wisconsin, where we not only have Germans, Poles, Scandinavians, >and other European groups, but also several American Indian tribes, and >most recently, large numbers of Hmong people. Anyone have any thought on this? > > > >I had my first experience with oral history as a graduate student doing >oral history of my school (University of Southwestern Louisiana, now >University of Louisiana at Lafayette), so I've decided that next fall when >I do the seminar, everyone will do UWSP oral history. Have any of you >done anything like that, either at the high school or college levels? > > > >While I'm on the seminar, is there an oral history syllabi collection? I >know my course needs work, and would benefit from seeing how other people >do it. > > > >Thanks to everyone for making this so interesting and informative. > > > >Michael Foret > >Associate Professor of History > >University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point > >mforet@uwsp.edu > >http://www.uwsp.edu/history/faculty/FORET/FORET.HTM > > >This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at >http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. Jean Choate Coastal Georgia Community College BrunswickGa. When I teach Women's History I require a paper on "A Woman in My Family." The students at first usually comment that no one in their family has done anything interesting or worthwhile, but after some interviewing they begin to appreciate the family member they are interviewing. Often this assignment seems to have opened up conversations that might have been delayed or never taken place. Jean Choate Coastal Georgia Community College This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 12:55:50 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Thomas Murray Subject: creating Oral History as a class assignment I currently teach a high school DropOut Prevention course in Peer Counseling. I try to find some curriculum related way to do Oral History in as many classes as I can. In this course I'm doing an Oral History of our school community. We're looking at who is in our school family plus how our school and community has changed over time. I've found that the project is too big for my small class so I'm trying to focus the work on themes like lifestyle, our beaches, our school, transportation and our community makeup. My kids don't all have the best writing or computer skills at times so the transcribing has been difficult. I try to use teams whenever possible. It seems to help a lot. They enjoy the interviewing and the analysis that comes from that process. When we get the project done and published we'll have a big celebration and I can't wait to see the big smiles on the proud kids' faces. I personally feel flexibility is a key to all of my Oral History projects. My ideas can easily turn out difficult or impossible so I adjust as the class takes shape. I expand or contract the focus based on the ability and energy in the class. Once we get a clear focus and the kids agree we move ahead with passion. If you're passionate, the kids will soon be too. Oral History has the capacity to make any class special. I love it. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 12:18:50 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: gerardo licon Subject: Re: creating Oral History as a class assignment MIME-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT Content-disposition: inline

Just a quick comment.  I strongly recommend indexing instead of transcribing especially if your interviewer to interviewee ratio is greater than 1:1. 

Gerardo Licon

Graduate Student of History

University of Southern California

----- Original Message -----

From: Thomas Murray <Thomasemurray@HOTMAIL.COM>

Date: Thursday, February 27, 2003 9:55 am

Subject: creating Oral History as a class assignment

> I currently teach a high school DropOut Prevention course in Peer
> Counseling. I try to find some curriculum related way to do Oral History
> in as many classes as I can. In this course I'm doing an Oral History of
> our school community. We're looking at who is in our school family plus
> how our school and community has changed over time. I've found that the
> project is too big for my small class so I'm trying to focus the work on
> themes like lifestyle, our beaches, our school, transportation and our
> community makeup.
>
> My kids don't all have the best writing or computer skills at times so the
> transcribing has been difficult. I try to use teams whenever possible. It
> seems to help a lot. They enjoy the interviewing and the analysis that
> comes from that process. When we get the project done and published we'll
> have a big celebration and I can't wait to see the big smiles on the proud
> kids' faces.
>
> I personally feel flexibility is a key to all of my Oral History projects.
> My ideas can easily turn out difficult or impossible so I adjust as the
> class takes shape. I expand or contract the focus based on the ability and
> energy in the class. Once we get a clear focus and the kids agree we move
> ahead with passion. If you're passionate, the kids will soon be too.
>
> Oral History has the capacity to make any class special. I love it.
>
> This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at
> http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.
> This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 23:13:23 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Pete Haro Subject: Re: Creating oral histories as course assignments Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary="MS_Mac_OE_3129232403_472756_MIME_Part" > THIS MESSAGE IS IN MIME FORMAT. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible. --MS_Mac_OE_3129232403_472756_MIME_Part Content-type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable Dear Professor Foret: Did you have the students present their findings to the class or present them to you as a paper? What kind of criteria did you establish for your students to follow? I would be very interested in gettin= g more details. Sincerely, Pete Haro Cuyamaca College ---------- From: Michael To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU Subject: Creating oral histories as course assignments Date: Wed, Feb 26, 2003, 8:31 PM I=92m really enjoying this discussion, and it comes at a good time as I revam= p my senior seminar in Oral History Methods for next fall. I will definitely be incorporating some of the sources mentioned in the discussion as require= d or suggested readings. I will also no doubt incorporate points, observations, and discussions in my lectures. I make a regular habit of mentioning discussion-list materials in my classes to show students that we continually engage our material no matter how long we have been out of school, and to impress upon our majors that one of the great things about being a historian is that we are members of a large group of very interesting people, and that we are always learning from each other. In addition to the American history surveys, I also teach a one-semester frosh survey on Racial and Ethnic Groups in American History. Part of the course requirement is to do a five-generation ancestor chart, or at least a= s much of one as they can. I give them a crash course in genealogy, but advise them the best place to start is with parents, grandparents, or other older relatives. Have any of you tried family history oral history? I could require them to do at least a half-hour interview with someone in their family about matters of ethnicity. I live and work in Central Wisconsin, where we not only have Germans, Poles, Scandinavians, and other European groups, but also several American Indian tribes, and most recently= , large numbers of Hmong people. Anyone have any thought on this? I had my first experience with oral history as a graduate student doing ora= l history of my school (University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette), so I=92ve decided that next fall when I do the seminar, everyone will do UWSP oral history. Have any of you done anything like that, either at the high school or college levels? While I=92m on the seminar, is there an oral history syllabi collection? I know my course needs work, and would benefit from seeing how other people d= o it. Thanks to everyone for making this so interesting and informative. Michael Foret Associate Professor of History University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point mforet@uwsp.edu http://www.uwsp.edu/history/faculty/FORET/FORET.HTM This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.= This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --MS_Mac_OE_3129232403_472756_MIME_Part Content-type: text/html; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable Re: Creating oral histories as course assignments Dear Professor Foret: Did you have the students present their findings to t= he class or present them to you as a paper? What kind of criteria did you es= tablish for your students to follow? I would be very interested in getting m= ore details.

Sincerely,


Pete Haro
Cuyamaca College

----------
From: Michael <mforet@TZNET.COM>
To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU
Subject: Creating oral histories as course assignments
Date: Wed, Feb 26, 2003, 8:31 PM


I=92m really enjoying this discussio= n, and it comes at a good time as I revamp my senior seminar in Oral History= Methods for next fall.  I will definitely be incorporating some of the= sources mentioned in the discussion as required or suggested readings. &nbs= p;I will also no doubt incorporate points, observations, and discussions in = my lectures.  I make a regular habit of mentioning discussion-list mate= rials in my classes to show students that we continually engage our material= no matter how long we have been out of school, and to impress upon our majo= rs that one of the great things about being a historian is that we are membe= rs of a large group of very interesting people, and that we are always learn= ing from each other.

 

In addition to the American history surveys, I also teach a one-seme= ster frosh survey on Racial and Ethnic Groups in American History.  Par= t of the course requirement is to do a five-generation ancestor chart, or at= least as much of one as they can.  I give them a crash course in genea= logy, but advise them the best place to start is with parents, grandparents,= or other older relatives.  Have any of you tried family history oral h= istory?  I could require them to do at least a half-hour interview with= someone in their family about matters of ethnicity.  I live and work i= n Central Wisconsin, where we not only have Germans, Poles, Scandinavians, a= nd other European groups, but also several American Indian tribes, and most = recently, large numbers of Hmong people.  Anyone have any thought on th= is?

 

I had my first experience with oral history as a graduate student do= ing oral history of my school (University of Southwestern Louisiana, now Uni= versity of Louisiana at Lafayette), so I=92ve decided that next fall when I do= the seminar, everyone will do UWSP oral history.  Have any of you done= anything like that, either at the high school or college levels?  

 

While I=92m on the seminar, is there an oral history syllabi collectio= n?  I know my course needs work, and would benefit from seeing how othe= r people do it.

 

Thanks to everyone for making this so interesting and informative.

 

Michael Foret

Associate Professor of History

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

mforet@uwsp.edu <= BR>
http://www.uwsp.edu/history/faculty/FORET/F= ORET.HTM

 
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web sit= e at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for m= ore resources for teaching U.S. History.
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --MS_Mac_OE_3129232403_472756_MIME_Part-- ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 07:52:40 EST Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Linda Shopes Subject: further thoughts MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_61.2e38b142.2b90b598_boundary" --part1_61.2e38b142.2b90b598_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit A number of issues have come up in the most recent postings, and I will get to them in a second. First, though, I want to recognize how well the listserv format encourages an informal collegiality - people get to say with what's on their mind and the conversation loopes along, ranging over disparate topics. George Foret noted that we historians are very interesting people who love to talk and learn form each other. Indeed! And if we can communicate that to our students, they will be very well served - great idea to include list participation as part of course participation. A couple of people have noted their use of oral history within the context of a family history assignment. To my mind, there really is no better place to start the study of history, it seems to me. By connecting with what they know, intimately and deeply, and then moving outward, we get students to see how their own families have been part of what we call history and also how history is something bigger than their own lives. By focusing on individual life stories, oral history can enliven that connection. (And as an aside, I know of a professor who has students plot their families' im/migration histories on a map during the first class of a U.S. history survey course, illustrating the important point of Americans' diverse origins.) Joan Choate's students' comments are also typical, I think - most people dismiss their experiences, and the experiences of those they know, as "not important" in the sense of "capital H" history. If we can help students make that leap - help them understand that their lives, what they have done, the decisions they have made, are the stuff of history - and if oral history can play a useful role in that, well, we've done very well. This is different from students making an affective connection with the experiences of others - not a bad thing, I suppose, but something I also find troubling about oral history. I'd suggest that oral history is more than a vehicle for feeling sympathy; it's a practice that requires us to make sense of the individual stories. In response to Michael Foret's query, I don't know of an available collection of oral history syllabi - that would be a useful resource. I have found, though, that a web search can identify some useful materials. And per Gerardo Licon's comment about indexing instead of transcribing: that is indeed a way to gain some control over what's on a tape without the time consuming process of transcribing. Another option is to transcribe selectively - either selected interviews in a collection or selected segments of a given interview that might be especially valuable or relevant to the topic/project at hand. Transcribing, and then putting spoken English into written English, can help students do the sort of close work necessary to develop their language skills, it seems to me. Eric Chase ask what defines oral histories. It is a protean term, referring to both the process of interviewing and the product of that interview, whether in tape or transcribed form. Moreover, "oral history" has been used colloquially to refer to informal conversation about "the old days," to the well crafted and often repeated narratives of a group's tradition bearers, and to written accounts based on conversation with another person. The Oral History Association defines oral history as "a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life" (see OHA's Statement of Principles and Standards for oral history at http://www.dickinson.edu/oha/EvaluationGuidelines.html). I think oral history involves a systematic and disciplined effort to record memories of significance - it's not a casual conversation, it's talk that is self-conscious, and with a clear purpose. What's common in all of this is the "oral" nature of oral history, that "it" originates in a conversation, or dialogue about the past. It's the exchange between interviewer and interviewee that creates the document, the narrative - what a person says about the past is inextricably related to what questions they are asked. So, I would say that a diary, for example, though a first person account, can't be reckoned as oral history, b/c there has been no explicit dialogue. A diarist may be writing with an audience in mind, but s/he's still engaged in a solitary act. Several respondents also shared release forms for interviews, that is agreements between interviewee and interviewee that define the terms according to which the interview can be used. As I understand it, release forms are required b/c, according to laws of copyright, rights to an interview belong to the interviewee (and perhaps also the interviewer), and for others to use the interview, they must sign over the rights. I do note that William & Mary's release form, helpfully provided by James Spady, requires the preservation of interviewee anonymity. I suspect this is required by William & Mary's IRB, in accordance with federal regulations governing research on human subjects, which are increasingly being applied to oral history. The problem, of course, is that anonymous sources are frequently suspect in history; and, in fact, many narrators are proud of their stories, their contributions to history, and so are comfortable with being recognized and named within an interview. This is just one example of the way these federal regulations - designed with biomedical and behavioral research in mind - are a bad fit for history. If any list participants have comments or questions about IRB review of oral history, I'll be happy to try to address them. And for a fuller discussion of legal issues related to oral history, see John Neuenschwander's very helpful Oral History and the Law, published by the Oral History Association. We're coming to the conclusion of this forum. I'd like to issue a "last call" for participation - any issues/questions you want to raise, any resources you want to share, any final thoughts or parting comments. We'll keep the list open through the weekend, and on Tues. or Wed. I'll post a final comment. Thanks to all. --Linda This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_61.2e38b142.2b90b598_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable A number of issues have come up in the most recent pos= tings, and I will get to them in a second.  First, though, I want to re= cognize how well the listserv format encourages an informal collegiality - p= eople get to say with what's on their mind and the conversation loopes along= , ranging over disparate topics.  George Foret noted that we historians= are very interesting people who love to talk and learn form each other.&nbs= p; Indeed!  And if we can communicate that to our students, they will b= e very well served - great idea to include list participation as part of cou= rse participation. 

A couple of people have noted their use of oral history within the context o= f a family history assignment.  To my mind, there really is no better p= lace to start the study of history, it seems to me.  By connecting with= what they know, intimately and deeply, and then moving outward, we get stud= ents to see how their own families have been part of what we call history an= d also how history is something bigger than their own lives.  By focusi= ng on individual life stories, oral history can enliven that connection. (An= d as an aside, I know of a professor who has students plot their families' i= m/migration histories on a map during the first class of a U.S. history surv= ey course, illustrating the important point of Americans' diverse origins.)&= nbsp; Joan Choate's students' comments are also typical, I think - most peop= le dismiss their experiences, and the experiences of those they know, as "no= t important" in the sense of "capital H" history.  If we can help stude= nts make that leap - help them understand that their lives, what they have d= one, the decisions they have made, are the stuff of history - and if oral hi= story can play a useful role in that, well, we've done very well.  = ; This is different from students making an affective connection with the ex= periences of others - not a bad thing, I suppose, but something I also find=20= troubling about oral history.  I'd suggest that oral history is more th= an a vehicle for feeling sympathy; it's a practice that requires us to make=20= sense of the individual stories.

In response to Michael Foret's query, I don't know of an available collectio= n of oral history syllabi - that would be a useful resource.  I have fo= und, though, that a  web search can identify some useful materials.&nbs= p; And per Gerardo Licon's comment about indexing instead of transcribing: t= hat is indeed a way to gain some control over what's on a tape without the t= ime consuming process of transcribing.  Another option is to transcribe= selectively - either selected interviews in a collection or selected segmen= ts of a given interview that might be especially valuable or relevant to the= topic/project at hand.  Transcribing, and then putting spoken English=20= into written English, can help students do the sort of close work necessary=20= to develop their language skills, it seems to me.  

Eric Chase ask what defines oral histories.  It is a protean term, refe= rring to both the process of interviewing and the product of that interview,= whether in tape or transcribed form.  Moreover, "oral history" has bee= n used colloquially to refer to informal conversation about "the old days,"=20= to the well crafted and often repeated narratives of a group's tradition bea= rers, and to written accounts based on conversation with another person.&nbs= p; The Oral History Association defines oral history as "a method of gatheri= ng and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with pa= rticipants in past events and ways of life" (see OHA's Statement of Principl= es and Standards for oral history at http://www.dickinson.edu/oha/Evaluation= Guidelines.html).  I think oral history involves a  systematic and= disciplined effort to record memories of significance - it's not a casual c= onversation, it's talk that is self-conscious, and with a clear purpose.&nbs= p; What's common in all of this is the "oral" nature of oral history, that "= it" originates in a conversation, or dialogue about the past.  It's the= exchange between interviewer and interviewee that creates the document, the= narrative - what a person says about the past is inextricably related to wh= at questions they are asked.  So, I would say that a diary, for example= , though a first person account, can't be reckoned as oral history, b/c ther= e has been no explicit dialogue.  A diarist may be writing with an audi= ence in mind, but s/he's still engaged in a solitary act.
 
Several respondents also shared release forms for interviews, that is agreem= ents between interviewee and interviewee that define the terms according to=20= which the interview can be used.  As I understand it, release forms are= required b/c, according to laws of copyright, rights to an interview belong= to the interviewee (and perhaps also the interviewer), and for others to us= e the interview, they must sign over the rights.  I do note that Willia= m & Mary's release form, helpfully provided by James Spady, requires the= preservation of interviewee anonymity.  I suspect this is required by=20= William & Mary's IRB, in accordance with federal regulations governing r= esearch on human subjects, which are increasingly being applied to oral hist= ory.  The problem, of course, is that anonymous sources are frequently=20= suspect in history; and, in fact, many narrators are proud of their stories,= their contributions to history, and so are comfortable with being recognize= d and named within an interview.  This is just one example of the way t= hese federal regulations - designed with biomedical and behavioral research=20= in mind - are a bad fit for history.  If any list participants have com= ments or questions about IRB review of oral history, I'll be happy to try to= address them.  And for a fuller discussion of legal issues related to=20= oral history,  see John Neuenschwander's very helpful Oral History and=20= the Law, published by the Oral History Association.

We're coming to the conclusion of this forum.  I'd like to issue a "las= t call" for participation - any issues/questions you want to raise, any reso= urces you want to share, any final thoughts or parting comments.  We'll= keep the list open through the weekend, and on Tues. or Wed. I'll post a fi= nal comment.  Thanks to all.  --Linda
This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. --part1_61.2e38b142.2b90b598_boundary-- ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 12:41:23 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: Adriana Green Subject: ethical considerations Dear all, I have been enjoying the exchange so far and I am especially impressed by the kind of work being done with students using oral history. There are, however, a couple of considerations to keep in mind. As (the only?) anthropologist here, I remind you that anthropology also relies on oral history as a method of inquiry. Talking to people is what we do in the field, and incorporating what we've talked with them about is how we then use the information so acquired. One major issue regards informed consent and proper approval to conduct research with human subjects. The minimum requirement is that the interviewee give their consent to the exchange and be fully informed as to the use the interview will be put. If anyone is going to profit by, say, a book being published of these interviews, the interviewee has a right to know how/where/why their words are used and be offered some royalties. A consent form should have a short description of the project and state to what use the material will be put; then it is signed by both the researcher and the interviewee. Federal law requires all institutions that receive public funding to register human research projects with the appropriate research office and go up for review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). This is VERY important to do. The main rationale is for the protection from abuses and exploitation of individuals and groups; the most concern is with medical and psychological research, and if your project is "innocuous" you shouldn't have any problem getting approval and even exemption. Some universities (and perhaps high schools?) may also require that class projects that have students collect oral histories be cleared first; when in doubt, ask! This issue is especially important when doing research with, say, Native Americans. Many tribes have their own IRB from which to gain approval of a project. That means you have to get approval from both your insitution and the tribe, plus individual consent forms signed by those you will actually be interviewing. One article I recommend to all those who are collecting oral histories is by Nathalie Piquemal, "Free and Informed Consent in Research Involving Native American Communities," American Indian Research and Culture Journal 25(1):65-79 (2001). In the last twenty years ethnohistorians have been(finally!)using oral histories as both primary sources and as a method of inquiry. At the forefront of this discourse in all its facets, including controversies, are Native Americans and ethnohistorians dealing with Native American topics. For starters, I recommend reading Angela Cavender Wilson's essay "Power of the Spoken Word: Native Oral Traditions in American Indian History" in the fine book Rethinking American Indian History edited by Donald L. Fixico (1997, University of New mexico Press). I would also check out the work of historian Theda Perdue. Finally, a word on editorial practices. Dialectal and slang uses of the English language can also be indicative of wider social and cultural patterns and so are valuable. And, there is much to be said for maintaining the original flavor of what and how someone answered a question. Even though you might want to edit responses for clarity, cohesiveness and even language for your own uses, you should always indicate that you did so in a note. However, I urge that the entire transcription be as faithful to the original as possible, even indicating pauses, laughter, etc. Just as you may use archived and published oral histories, so other researchers might be using yours, and those things might be important for their own interpretations. I hope this is helpful, Adriana Greci Green, PhD Visiting Assistant Professor Department of History Michigan State University greenad@msu.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 10:33:15 -0800 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "McCaman, Kristin" Subject: Re: ethical considerations MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Professor Green's comments brought to mind another issue that has not yet been discussed (I think) - that of the interview subject's right to review the transcript, video or other use of their interview. Interview subjects should receive a draft copy of the transcript of their interview, to review for corrections but also to give their consent to the final product. Professor Green mentions retaining a person's dialect, phrasing, or laughter, but this can be particularly difficult to do. Transcription is something of an art and a challenge for beginning oral historians. In transcribing my first oral history interview, I tried to keep the style and flow of the subject's speech. But when he read my transcript, he thought it made him sound uneducated. So I followed his suggestions to revise the transcript. The final product had less "personality" than the sound interview, but still included all the most important details and conformed this gentleman's wishes. It required a little bit of soul-searching on my part to come to terms with the fact that these words do not belong to me/the museum, but to the people who have been generous enough to share of part of their lives with us. I also keep in mind that the transcript is a complement to the recorded interview, not a substitute for it. In his book Doing Oral History, Don Ritchie covers the ethical issues surrounding the subject's control of the material. He provides helpful strategies for dealing with interviewees who may ask that entire sections of the interview be removed from the transcript or that sections of the interview be "closed" for a certain number of years. Kristin McCaman Program Coordinator History San Jose San Jose, CA > -----Original Message----- > From: Adriana Green [SMTP:superadj@YAHOO.COM] > Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 9:41 AM > To: ORALHISTORYFORUM@ASHP.LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU > Subject: ethical considerations > > Dear all, > I have been enjoying the exchange so far and I am especially impressed by > the kind of work being done with students using oral history. > > There are, however, a couple of considerations to keep in mind. As (the > only?) anthropologist here, I remind you that anthropology also relies on > oral history as a method of inquiry. Talking to people is what we do in > the > field, and incorporating what we've talked with them about is how we then > use the information so acquired. > > One major issue regards informed consent and proper approval to conduct > research with human subjects. The minimum requirement is that the > interviewee give their consent to the exchange and be fully informed as to > the use the interview will be put. If anyone is going to profit by, say, a > book being published of these interviews, the interviewee has a right to > know how/where/why their words are used and be offered some royalties. A > consent form should have a short description of the project and state to > what use the material will be put; then it is signed by both the > researcher > and the interviewee. > > Federal law requires all institutions that receive public funding to > register human research projects with the appropriate research office and > go up for review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). This is VERY > important to do. The main rationale is for the protection from abuses and > exploitation of individuals and groups; the most concern is with medical > and psychological research, and if your project is "innocuous" you > shouldn't have any problem getting approval and even exemption. Some > universities (and perhaps high schools?) may also require that class > projects that have students collect oral histories be cleared first; when > in doubt, ask! > > This issue is especially important when doing research with, say, Native > Americans. Many tribes have their own IRB from which to gain approval of a > project. That means you have to get approval from both your insitution and > the tribe, plus individual consent forms signed by those you will actually > be interviewing. > One article I recommend to all those who are collecting oral histories is > by Nathalie Piquemal, "Free and Informed Consent in Research Involving > Native American Communities," American Indian Research and Culture Journal > 25(1):65-79 (2001). > > In the last twenty years ethnohistorians have been(finally!)using oral > histories as both primary sources and as a method of inquiry. At the > forefront of this discourse in all its facets, including controversies, > are > Native Americans and ethnohistorians dealing with Native American topics. > For starters, I recommend reading Angela Cavender Wilson's essay "Power of > the Spoken Word: Native Oral Traditions in American Indian History" in the > fine book Rethinking American Indian History edited by Donald L. Fixico > (1997, University of New mexico Press). I would also check out the work of > historian Theda Perdue. > > Finally, a word on editorial practices. Dialectal and slang uses of the > English language can also be indicative of wider social and cultural > patterns and so are valuable. And, there is much to be said for > maintaining > the original flavor of what and how someone answered a question. Even > though you might want to edit responses for clarity, cohesiveness and even > language for your own uses, you should always indicate that you did so in > a > note. However, I urge that the entire transcription be as faithful to the > original as possible, even indicating pauses, laughter, etc. Just as you > may use archived and published oral histories, so other researchers might > be using yours, and those things might be important for their own > interpretations. > > I hope this is helpful, > > > Adriana Greci Green, PhD > Visiting Assistant Professor > Department of History > Michigan State University > greenad@msu.edu > > This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at > http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. > History. This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History. ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 23:18:44 -0500 Reply-To: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" Sender: "Using Oral History to Teach U.S. History" From: "Noonan, Ellen" Subject: New forum beginning on Civil War, David Blight moderator Mime-version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit The next Talking History forum begins this week, on the Civil War with David Blight as Guest Moderator. If you would like to subscribe to this forum you can go directly to http://ashp.listserv.cuny.edu/archives/civilwarforum.html and choose "Join or Leave the List." Or, you can email me directly (don't respond to this message!) at enoonan@gc.cuny.edu and I will subscribe you. If you have already asked me to subscribe you, you don't need to email me again. Ellen --------- Ellen Noonan American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning The Graduate Center, City University of New York 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301.10 New York, NY 10016 (212) 817-1969 enoonan@gc.cuny.edu http://www.ashp.cuny.edu This forum is sponsored by History Matters--please visit our Web site at http://historymatters.gmu.edu for more resources for teaching U.S. History.