The Drake Oral History Project is the outcome of a class project produced for the Department for the Study of Culture and Society. The first half of our course, Migrant Oral Histories, focuses on the experiences of transnational migrants living in the U.S. The The scholarship draws from anthropology and its neighboring disciplines in an attempt to understand the social, political, and economic processes that shape the varied experiences of Latino migrants. In so doing we discuss issues of race, class, ethnicity and gender, raised by recent immigration through a comparative, integrative, global-historical perspective.
In order to apply knowledge from the texts to real life experiences of (Im)migrants in this country, each student is asked to interview a first generation (Im)migrant. The second part of the course, thus focuses on an examination of Oral History as method. We spend time thinking and talking about how to conduct an oral history project. Students are not limited by whom they can interview but the interviewee must have a memory of the migration process. Thus, they are asked to interview someone who was at least 9 years of age when they migrated to the U.S.
During the course of the semester, students will conduct at least two one-hour long interviews that they transcribe and which they then use to construct an oral history of roughly 6,000 words. Students integrate visual, audio, and text to produce a story that remains true to the spirit of their interview transcript. The oral histories presented, include the narrative composed by the student, original transcript, and an appendix linking the project to the class.