Self Care for Oral Historians: The Dangers of Interviewing and What To Do About Them (Columbia Oral History MA Program)

Self Care for Oral Historians: The Dangers of Interviewing and What To Do About Them

Hosted by the Columbia Oral History Masters Program Alumni Association.

April 6 & April 7


Instructor: Liz Strong

Location: Graduate Student Center Conference Room, 302 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University


The art of the interview is integral to many disciplines and crafts. During that collaborative exchange, sometimes the interviewer and interviewee will be exposed to the challenges of harrowing memories, uncertain legal situations, or even physical risks. Join this short course to explore how the legal and ethical practices of the oral history field have adapted to such challenges, and contributed to ongoing development of interview methodologies. We will review existing resources on how to prepare yourself, as the interviewer, and also your interviewee for any foreseeable difficulties. We will also learn from each other’s experiences, as participants are encouraged to share examples from current or past projects that they would like to workshop with the group. In the first session we will cover the basics of ethics and legal concerns when it comes to conducting oral history interviews. In the second session we will focus specifically on the variety of different challenges that surround interviews about traumatic memories. Participants of all levels of experience are welcome, especially those who conduct interviews and oral history projects within educational environments as students and teachers.

See the full list of this year’s Oral History Short Courses

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