Postgraduate Module Descriptor

ARAM227: Oral History: Principles and Practice

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (12 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Christine Robins (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Oral history, the process of recording interviews with people to elicit narratives of the past, is a powerful methodology which has been used not only in history, but also in other disciplines including anthropology and psychology – for presenting individual lives, hearing the voice of non-elites, helping to heal traumatised communities and discovering multiple experiences of past events. The module is aimed especially at those who wish to use this approach for dissertations or wish to develop their interviewing and media skills. 

In this project-based module you will learn the methodologies and theoretical perspectives underlying oral history and you will begin to practise it yourself. Interacting with experienced researchers, you will learn about past and current projects, especially those focusing on the Middle East, but the main focus will be practical, as your final assignment will consist of an interview of your own. The focus will be agreed with the teacher but need not be on the Middle East. We anticipate that your interviews will form part of an oral history project focusing on diversity, to be accessible online in the longer term; the ELE page will give further information on this.

Much of the course will be delivered through workshops. Emphasis will be placed on group work, mutual support and a deep understanding of the ethical issues involved. No prior knowledge of Middle Eastern languages is required.

This module will run in Term 1 to enable students to apply the skills acquired to their dissertations later in the year.  For this 30-credit version of the course you are required not only to produce an interview but also to fully transcribe and code it and also to write an analytical essay which will place your interview in the wider context of oral history work and consider theoretical frameworks.

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