Week 16: May 1/3

We’re at the end of the semester. I know it’s been a difficult and tumultuous one for a lot of us. I hope it’s been an impactful one, too, in all the good ways that it can be.

We began our class by discussing the power and promise of oral histories, as well as the responsibility of shared authority.  I hope, by now, these are more than ideas.  I hope you feel some of the weight that comes with this kind of research.

Your task in your papers is to help shed light on what life was like for Latinx folks in the past based on the experiences and meaning-making stories others provided to us.  That  means beginning from a place that seeks to understand their world and self as they make sense of it.  Whether or not their story fits the larger story we might anticipate, it gives us access to how real human beings lived through their times.

While you are expected to be analytical, and free to be critical as you make sense of the past, you should also be respectful to the process.

Papers are  due no later than Wednesday, May 3 for graduating and no later than Wednesday, May 10 for everyone else.

On Monday we’ll tidy up with evaluations and other tasks. On Wednesday we’ll have a special class. I’ll bring some snacks and I’ll facilitate a specific discussion.  See you then…


Week 15: April 24/26

We’ll continue to be a space for you to get your work done–either doing your transcription, conducting research from the census or newspapers, or doing some writing.

Your primary task is to turn in your second interview sometime this week.  This includes the completed paperwork in the folder; your single-sided, unstapled transcript; and the audio of the interview (in MP3 format) burned on to the blank CD you received.

The papers are due Wednesday, May 10 for graduating seniors and Wednesday, May 10 for everyone else. As I said in class, I have cancelled the last “Reflection Essay,” but I do ask you to append a 2-3 paragraph statement where you reflect on the practice, use, and impact of conducting and employing oral histories.

Week 13: Research

All of you have a contact for your second interview. You should email them immediately to set-up a time to conduct your interview.  The completed paperwork (including transcript and reflection) are due by Monday, April 24.

Please be attentive to the following:

  • Consult the “blue sheet” on the steps you need to follow.
  • New folders with blank paperwork are in the mailbox on my office door, Mason Hall, room 122.
  • Contact me as soon as you can if you need transportation support or a space in which to conduct an interview on campus.

This week  we’ll continue to work on the analysis of oral histories.  We’ll also learn how to supplement that with more traditional forms of historical research, namely, newspaper and census research.

Week 12: Next steps…

Between now and Monday, your main task is to transcribe your interview according to the document I handed out in class (which you can access here). You may find the oTranscribe helpful as you do your transcript.

Please bring your completed transcript, folder with paperwork, and one-page reflection to class.  If you can, please copy the audio file of your interview (saved as an mp3) to the blank CD I gave you in class last week.

On Wednesday,  we’ll read an article and write a short Focused Analysis on it. The article connects us to the topic of displacement within Chicanx urban studies. It also makes use of some interviews with residents of East L.A. While the piece may not be a great oral history it might help us think about the ways we present larger, structural issues Latinx communities face.

The article is linked on our online course schedule.

Week 11: Chaffey High School

This Saturday we’ll meet at 8:30AM in the parking lot between Lincoln and Tranquada and carpool over to Chaffey High School for our oral history event. You should be back on campus no later than 2:30PM.

On Monday we’ll meet as a class to debrief on the event and talk about next steps.  Remember that, after each interview, you are required to turn in a digital copy of the audio (on a CD), a full transcript, and a short reflection (one page) of the process.  We won’t have class on Wednesday to give you time to complete your transcriptions and reflections.

Week 10: March 20/22

Welcome back from the break! I hope you had a productive and relaxing week!

This week we’ll prepare for our oral history event taking place this Saturday at Chaffey High School.   We are scheduled to begin conducting oral histories at 9:30AM, so it is important that you make preparations to be there no later than 8:45AM.

I can cover the cost of a Zip Car if someone is able to drive.

On Monday we’ll talk about logistics and review our form packets.  On Wednesday we’ll meet to work out any final travel details and anything else!

Be well until then…

Week 8: March 6

We’ve reached the halfway point of the semester, meaning your Jedi training is almost complete. All you have left to do to become a real oral history Jedi is conduct an oral history interview!

On Monday we will meet to take care of our final preparations. I will give each of you a revised interview guide; we’ll review the paperwork we need to complete when doing our interviews; and we’ll pass out some contacts. As I mentioned last week, we’ll also make some adjustments to our calendar to better fit your collective schedules.

We won’t have class on Wednesday.

As we make the transition to hands-on research stay focused on the road ahead as laid out in the syllabus. Be mindful of the human connection we get to build and enjoy as we conduct research. And, always, remind yourself to be grateful for the gift of another’s time and story.