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ARTH 668 Theories and Methodologies in Art History: Feminist approaches to Oral history

  • Tuesdays, 11 am - 2pm
  • EV 3.760
  • Dr. Cynthia Hammond

Oral history is a research method that emerged as part of radical social movements in the 1960s and 70s. Its practitioners sought to give voice to those who had previously been under-represented in academic scholarship, specifically working-class people, women, members of the gay community, and people of colour. The method has since expanded into a robust, cross-disciplinary field of practice, but the central aim of oral history continues: to broaden the historical record with the express goal of seeking a more just and inclusive future.

ARTH 668 will introduce students to the methods of oral history, paying attention to the application of oral history in the arts (ie. how art historians, curators, artists, and architectural historians use it). Much of our theoretical reading will come from feminist oral history, as it is this terrain that has produced some of the most exciting research about the ethics of listening, the necessity and challenges of co-creation, and the possibility of sharing authority (all fundamental principles guiding oral history today).

This will be a hands-on course in that one of the learning goals is to complete the research ethics process, which is a formal process mandated by Canada’s three major funding agencies. The purpose of undertaking a research ethics application within the course is to gain first-hand experience of both ethics protocols and interviewing itself (which is technically not permitted until ethics permission has been granted by our institution). Once they have completed their ethics applications, students will undertake three interviews, connected by a coherent theme or site of inquiry, and will write a final paper based on these interviews. The paper may take the form of a proposal for a curatorial or research-creation project.

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