Introduction to Oral History Interviewing

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Columbia University, Knox Hall

606 W 122nd Street

New York, NY 10027

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Introduction to Oral History Interviewing, Fanny Julissa García


What makes an oral history interview? What’s the difference between a journalistic interview and an oral history interview? What questions to ask and how? In this workshop, participants will learn the basic principles of oral history interviewing and how to create a space in which a person will feel comfortable enough to engage with interview questions. We’ll also learn about question trees – crucial tools for a dialogic exchange that is reflective, fluid and improvisational. Most importantly, participants will have the opportunity to conduct in-class interviews that will be used as case-studies to explore the importance of open-ended questions and how and when to ask follow-up questions. At the end of this workshop, participants will have a new-found knowledge of the intentionality in oral history interviewing and how to craft questions that will elicit fruitful responses.

Fanny Julissa García is an oral historian contributing work to Central American Studies. In her most recent work, Reminiscences on Migration: A Central American Lyric, she intertwines her own migration story using lyric poetry and vignettes with oral history interviews conducted with Central American refugee women who had been released from detention centers at the U.S./Mexico border. She has worked for more than 15 years as a social justice advocate to combat the public health and socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS on low income communities, worked closely with organizations fighting for the end of family detention, and supported survivors of sexual violence. She serves as the Communications Coordinator for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change, a network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers and documentary artists that use oral history to further movement building and transformative social change. She also works at the New-York Historical Society, and is co-founder of Social Exchange Institute, a media and education company that uses multi-media tools to produce work that promotes social justice and equity. She’s also on the editorial board for the Oral History Association’s Oral History Review. In 2017, she graduated from the Oral History Master of Arts program from Columbia University where she received the Judge Jack B. Weinstein Scholarship Award for Oral History and the OHMA Oral History Teaching and Social Justice Award.

*For our oral history workshops, please pay what you can. We suggest $30 for students, recent graduates, or others who are financially constrained, while we suggest that professionals and those with more resources should pay more. All profits from these events go towards our annual merit scholarship for an OHMA student. Please note that OHMA applicants can get their admission fee waived if they attend a workshop.

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Columbia University, Knox Hall

606 W 122nd Street

New York, NY 10027

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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