Oral History Workshop
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Media Studies
Course Number: NMDS 5025
Course Format: Seminar
Permission Required: No
With the advent of the internet and low-cost digital recorders, Oral History has emerged as a popular documentary practice, with an approach that tips its hat to several fields (from Anthropology to Psychoanalysis). Legs McNeil, George Plimpton, and Anna Deveare Smith have all made use of Oral History to different ends, and so do radio documentarians, public health investigators, and human rights workers. Designed as a theory and methods workshop, this course will cover interview techniques, project design, recording, ethical issues, and legal releases/forms. Students will also hear about professionals from the field, who are putting interviews to diverse uses (from public health studies to arts fundraising). We explore the genre’s rich history while working to define and expand its future as a dynamic research method. Theoretical readings draw from the field of Oral History as well as the fields of Psychoanalysis, Trauma Studies, and Anthropology. Students conduct and analyze interviews with best practices in mind. This workshop is well suited for those planning to start oral history projects and for those interested in multimedia journalism, social advocacy, and/or narrative nonfiction, as well as documentarians of all stripes who want to learn new approaches to interviewing and storytelling.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Open to Graduate students.