The Uses of History (HIST*3450) | College of Arts

The Uses of History (HIST*3450)

Code and section: HIST*3450*01

Term: Winter 2019

Instructor: Kimberley Martin


Course Synopsis:

Interested in local history? Want to know what the Guelph music scene was in the 1950s and 60s? Eager to chat with local folks about built heritage in The Royal City? Oral history presents historians with the unique opportunities to learn from their community. As part of this course, students will work collaboratively to develop research questions related to the history of Guelph, and will conduct oral history interviews with members of the public. Once our focus has been decided, we will venture to local senior centers and collect memories: in interview form, but supplemented with scans and photographs of physical objects.
Every student will participate in the entire process: from establishing a topic and conducting background research to interviewing, transcribing and evaluating their work. Students will leave the course with the knowledge of the ethics of interviewing, and an appreciation for this methodology. The final research project will be showcased in an online exhibit or website.
No prior technological savvy is needed, as we’ll be working with digital tools that you already have at hand - your phone and your laptop.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  1. Clearly understand and articulate details of an oral history project from beginning (ethical considerations, creating research questions) to end (collection and display of historical sources).
  2. Comfortably created and conduct one-on-one interviews.
  3. Discuss of the benefits of local and oral history.
  4. Showcase their digital literacy skills, with an awareness of a variety of digital tools for displaying and curating historical projects.
  5. Understand of the purpose of a digital history project.
  6. Formulate, direct, and complete an oral history project, and explain its significance to academic and lay audiences.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

In class participation: 10%
Practice oral interview assignment: 15%
Background research paper: 20%
Interview Guide: 15%
Final research project: 40%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

Ritchie, Donald A. Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide. Oxford University Press, 2014. (Available as an e-book from the McLaughlin Library)

All other readings will be openly available on the web or distributed through Courselink.

Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.