repositioning the oral history interview

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Southern Oral History Program

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Oral History Resources


  • To learn about the Southern Oral History Program’s background, read “ Case Study: The Southern Oral History Program ” (available through Google Books, pages 409-416), published in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History by Oxford University Press in 2011 and edited  by Donald A. Ritchie.


Use these general resources in designing and realizing your oral history project.

  • 10 Tips for Interviewers  . A list of important things to remember and apply to help create a successful oral history.
  • Our  Practical Guide to Oral History  is a general handbook covering a range of topics for planning and conducting an oral history project, like  interviewing tips, budgeting, equipment, and sample forms.
  • Oral History Bibliography . Our bibliography includes sections on oral history theory and methodology, ethical considerations and legal issues, citations to key journals and videotapes, and a compendium of exemplary books and articles based at least in part on oral history research.
  • Principles and Best Practices . The Oral History Association provides guidance throughout all steps of the interview process, including understanding rights, developing thoughtful questions, and working in conjunction with a repository to preserve materials.
  • The  Oral History in the Digital Age  site contains dozens of excellent resources from top professionals nationwide. There are essays, case studies, and tutorials on a wide range of topics, from picking out which equipment to use and planning your first oral history project to creating accession workflows and making your interviews publicly accessible.
  • A Guide to Oral History and the Law . This text is an invaluable resource in handling and interpreting various legal and ethical issues in oral history. It also provides release and deed of gift templates to use in almost every conceivable situation, which are very useful in developing your own release forms.
  • Our  student handbook  contains a variety of information about conducting oral histories as a Carolina student with access to UNC resources. Though designed particular for UNC students, the information and examples in the handbook may be useful to others interested in conducting oral histories.
  • Not sure which digital recorder to use or purchase? Ask Doug !
  •   Community Oral History Toolkit  by Nancy MacKay, Mary Kay Quinlan, and Barbara W. Sommer is the “definitive guide to all aspects of conducting successful community oral history projects that conform to best practices in the field.”
  • The Smithsonian Folklore and Oral History Interviewing Guide and the American Folklife Center’s guide both provide great information and tips for conducting a family or community oral history projects.

Time and resources permitting, the SOHP offers workshops for groups of people interested in embarking on interview projects.


These websites will help you integrate oral histories into your classrooms.

  • Like a Family , the online companion to the acclaimed history,  Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World , is a great resource for teachers.
  • Oral Histories of the American South  offers quick access to audio and transcript of more than five hundred oral histories.
  • The Library of Congress provides a guide for teachers on social and oral history.


Some sites of interest.

  • The Oral History Association
  • H-oralhist , a network for oral historians
  • Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History
  • The University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
  • Crossroads to Freedom , a digital archive of civil rights materials from Memphis, TN
  • Columbia University Center for Oral History’s resources page

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    • This #LaborDay we look to a 1976 interview with Eula McGill. In this clip she discusses Labor Day parades in Gadsde… Reply Retweet Favorite
    • Check out this interview with John Sellars, a 1971 #UNC graduate and one of the first members of @unc_bsm , discussi… Reply Retweet Favorite
    • RT @state_of_things : “As physicians we have to communicate with patients. Conversely people have to understand what physicians are saying a… Reply Retweet Favorite
  • Recent Field Notes

    • Looking for a lesson plan on civil rights your students can relate to? Try “Education and Civil Rights,” Grades 6-8
    • “Disfranchisement in the American South” Through Voices of Those Who’ve Lived It, Grades 9-12
    • Access this timely and inspiring lesson plan on “The Fight for Voting Rights,” Grades 8-12
    • “The Influence & Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the Civil Rights Movement,” Gr. 8-12
    • Listen to the “Unsung Women of the Civil Rights Movement” through this lesson plan for Grades 8-12

Who We Are

The Southern Oral History Program in the Center for the Study of the American South conducts original research on the history and culture of the American South. Since 1974, we have collected more than 5,000 interviews with southerners from all walks of life, from politicians to activists, business owners to millworkers, educators to artists. These interviews make up a rich record of life in the American South in the voices of those who experienced it.


Sign up here to receive our newsletter, “Field Notes,” and stay up to date on SOHP happenings!

Support Our Work

The work of the Southern Oral History Program would not be possible without your support.
If you would like to make a gift to the SOHP, please visit the gift page and select “Southern Oral History Program Gift Fund” from the dropdown menu.


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University of Michigan



Oral history essay

Oral history essay – 1 Jason Gura 9/11 and Foreign Policy…

  • University of Michigan

  • HISTORY 101

  • Essay

  • 4

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Jason Gura
9/11 and Foreign Policy Oral History Paper
Oral history is, “A field of study and a method of gathering, preserving and
interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past
( Oral histories can add depth to existing histories and is an
essential source for “history from below” (Lecture, 3/17/15). Critics of oral history would
say memory is an unreliable source of information and the interviewee can have personal
bias. (Lecture, 3/17/15). In an interview with my dad, Lloyd Gura, he gave me his
perspective on foreign policy after 9/11. My dad witnessed 9/11 from his office building
and it changed the way he thinks of foreign policy and it has affected so many people’s
opinions across the country too. My father’s account of 9/11 and his opinions on foreign
policy since then enables us to look into the thoughts of an American mind to gauge the
attitude toward foreign policy across the country, but his account alone limits the weight
we can put on his views.
Oral history gives us the ability to view historical events from many different
perspectives. In an interview, one can get new information and support current knowledge
as well. Lloyd Gura was able to provide insight on his perspective of 9/11 and how he
interprets foreign policy because of it. First, I asked him to describe his day on September
11, 2001. He said it started like any other normal day at work and then the phones stopped
working. After his brother got in contact with him, he saw the burning World Trade Center
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  • schwartz

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