Oral History And The Veteran Experience

Institution(s): UMass Boston

Discipline(s): English, Humanities

Faculty Member(s): Erin Anderson

Keyword(s): Citizenship, Civic Engagement, Design-Research, Digital Media

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This course invites student veterans to participate in a semester-long exploration of oral history, documentary, and audio storytelling. Students will read, listen to, watch and discuss seminal works in the history of oral history—from Studs Terkel’s The Good War to award-winning radio documentaries and transmedia projects—which have sought to document and disseminate the stories of U.S. war veterans. Through discussions and reflective writing, students will take up challenging questions about narrative, representation, and the relationship between personal and public memory. The course will provide students with an hands-on introduction to oral history methods—including preparing, recording, and transcribing interviews—as well as the craft of editing oral history materials into documentary narratives in textual and audio forms. Students will have the opportunity to share their own stories and to learn from the experiences of prominent local veterans through hands-on interviewing and storytelling projects, culminating in a collaborative public art initiative carried out in conjunction with the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention, to be held in Boston in September 2015.