History | Oral History in Latin America
J400 | 6651 | James


Above section open to majors only

This course is basically a two track course.  We will follow the
debate about the use of oral history, the nature of memory, and
commemoration.  What makes oral sources different from written
archival sources?  We will then take a number of examples of
research which use oral testimony—this ranges from African-American
narratives collected in the south in the 1930’s, through life
stories of elderly Jews in a Los Angeles retirement community to
Latin American texts such as life stories of Rigoberta Menchu, a
Guatemalan Indian, and Dona Maria Roldan, an 80 year old Argentine
woman who worked in meatpacking plants in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Finally, we will look at photos and photo albums as historical
materials that can tell us about the past.

There will be several 5 page reaction papers on topics, as well as
three book reviews.  The final assignment will be a 10 page paper on
a topic deriving from the course.