Winter Term 1996
Alfred J. Rieber
Department of History

Course Description

The object of this course is to introduce students to both the theory and practice of oral history. The course will be divided into three overlapping parts. The first part will consist of reading about oral history, its origins, debates, interdisciplinary perspectives. The second part will consist of illustrations of oral history through visits to oral history projects and viewing video and film representations of oral history. The third part will take the form of training in and carrying out oral history by the students in the class.

The assignments will also consist of different kinds of presentation. There will be short weekly written assignments based on the readings for the first half of the course. (All the reading will be available in a photocopy bulk pack in the library.) Then the students will prepare for the first of two interview projects by drawing up a questionnaire. The questionnaire will be the basis for an interview of at least one hour's duration with a fellow student who participated in the events of 1989. The interview will then be transcribed and submitted to the class. The final exam will be a second interview with an individual who was already mature in 1989 about his/her recollections of the events. The individual may be a member of the CEU faculty, someone living in Budapest or, if the student wishes to conduct the interview "at home" with a family member, friend or neighbor in his/her home town. These interviews must also be transcribed (and if necessary translated into English).

Dates and Assignments:

January 10. Introduction and Organization: History, Anthropology and Folklore.
Guest lecturer: Marsha Siefert, Director of Communications CEU

January 17. The Origins of Oral History
Jan Vansina, "Once Upon a Time: Oral Traditions as History in Africa." 413-36.
Paul Thompson, "Historians and Oral History," from THE VOICE OF THE PAST, 22-71.

January 24. Myth-Building

Visit to Budapest 1956 ARCHIVE with Gyorgy Litvan, director.
Alessandro Portelli, "The Death of Luigi Trastulli: Memory and the Event," in THE DEATH OF LUIGI TRASTULLI, 1-28.

January 31. Collective Memory

Guest lecturer: Janos Bak Medival Studies, CEU
Patrick H. Hutton, "Maurice Halbwachs as Historian of Collective Memory," in HISTORY AS AN ART OF MEMORY, 73-90.
Stephen F. Jones, "Old Ghosts and New Chains: Ethnicity and Memory in the Georgian Republic," in R.S. Watson, MEMORY HISTORY AND OPPOSITION UNDER STATE SOCIALISM, 149-165.

February 7. Constructing an Interview
Guest Lecturer: Julia Szalai, Institute of Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Reading:
Instructions to Interviewers " and other questionnaires from INTERVIEWING THE PEOPLE OF PENNSYLVANIA A CONCEPTUAL GUIDE TO ORAL HISTORY

February 14. Oral History and Sociology, Psychiatry and Anthropology
MichelRolph Trouillot, "Anthropology and the Savage Slot: The Poetics and Policies of Otherness, in R.G. Fox, REAPPRAISALS OF ANTHROPOLOGY, 17-44.
John Byng-Hall interviewed by Paul Thompson, "The Power of Family Myths," in P.S. Samuel and P. Thompson, THE MYTHS WE LIVE BY, 161-73.
Erving Goffman, "On Face Work," in INTERACTION RITUAL, 5-45.

February 21. New Perspectives
Elizabeth Tonkin, "Subject or Object? Debates over the Nature of Oral History, " in NARRATING OUR PAST, 83-96
E. Cabezali et al, "Myth as Suppression. Motherhood and the Historic Consciousness of the Women of Madrid, 1936-39," in THE MYTHS WE LIVE BY, 161-173
S. Vandecasteele-Schweitzer and D. Voldman, "The Oral Sources for Women's History," in Michelle Perrot, WRITING WOMEN'S HISTORY, 41-50.

February 28. Reports on the First Interview

March 6. Oral History From Above
Guest lecturer: Wanda Koscia with her video film, "Stalinism in Leningrad"
Theresa Toranska, "THEM," STALIN'S POLISH PUPPETS Excerpts

March 13. Reports on Second Interview

CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Revised: May 1996


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