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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Class Notes 1/22

Dean Bell

Oral History- takes as its core idea the ordinary, an individual's concept of life and story. An everyday personal remembrance, crafting it to be retold. It is deeply personal and carries with it great meaning. These remembrances can hold the key to understanding how a person organizes their own life. These stories often only provide one side of the factual story.

When preparing to take an Oral History you must go in with an objective, the process is smoother when interviewer is articulated about their purpose.
- need to know what questions we will ask
- need to develop the questioning relationship - develop report, be open and honest about your own experiences. Find a common ground.
-Participant Observation, think ahead of the game.

How do we make our lives meaningful over time? - cultural artifacts in which meaning was placed such as recipes, songs, games, shared historical and sociological experiences, economic and practical boundaries. Sensory information helps make the connection to future audiences.

We discover this meaning through the words of the people, who can tell us what these things mean. Their description doesn't have to be scientific or political to be powerful.  You, as an oral historian, have to convince them that their words and advice can shape the lives of others. That different people will find different things to attach onto.

Every 10 minutes of tape leads to 30-45 minutes of transcribing- it is key to capture the cultural ambiance of it, capture nuances such as language
- Make a moral commitment to accuracy
- Consistent characterization throughout
- After send to an archive, the collections at the archive can show us the changes and similarities across generations.





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