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ARTH 805 (Concordia) - Bloc B séminaire: Oral History as Interdisciplinary Method for the ARts

Horaire : variable (voir calendrier ci-bas)



Wednesday, Sept 5th, 1-4pm. Location: TBD,  (3 hours)

Saturday, Sept. 15th, 10am-4pm. Location: TBD (6 hours)

Wednesday, Sept. 26th, 1-4pm. Location: TBD (3 hours)

Wednesday, October 10th - Saturday, October 13th - Oral History Association Conference. Attendance must include the ‘special’ events (6 hours) and 4 additional sessions (8 hours). Location: Various locations within Concordia and the surrounding neighbourhood - most sessions will take place in the Concordia Conference Centre (precise details tba). (14 hours) Please note that registration is required.

Saturday, November 24th, 10am-4pm. Location: TBD (6 hours)

Sunday, November 25th, 10am-4pm. Location: TBD (6 hours)

Wednesday, December 5th, 1-4pm. Location: COHDS (3 hours)



Concordia University - Center for Oral History & Digital Storytelling (COHDS), Library Building, LB 1019 (1400 De Maisonneuve West Blvd.)

Other locations TBA by instructor



As the Oxford University Handbook of Oral History observes, "in the past sixty years, oral history has moved from the periphery to the mainstream of academic studies" (2011). This move has been included in the past, as it has been defined by a growing sense of the oral history of the world as a threshold of academic research and public engagement. The primary mode of that engagement has been the arts (High, Little, and Millar, 2017). As such, it is important to consider how the methods, opportunities, and ethics of oral history have intersected with the more familiar methods known to art and architectural history.

In October 2018, Concordia University and the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling will host the annual meeting of the Oral History Association (OHA), the most important scholarly network dedicated to the oral history practice. The theme of the 2018 meeting will be "Activism." In addition to regular sessions and keynotes, the OHA's visit will include locally-curated events and research-creation involving oral histories and life stories, designed to foreground Concordia's innovation in these areas, and locating the conference at the intersection of multiple disciplines.

This event will be an ideal opportunity for cross-disciplinary learning encounters at the graduate level. Drs Cynthia Hammond (Art History), Steven High (History), and Kathleen Vaughan (Art Education) propose to lead a collaboratively-taught seminar involving students from our respective programs, and from other graduate programs in the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. This course will focus on oral history as a method, with particular attention paid to the intersections and discontinuities between public history, the built environment, the visual arts, and creative practices. Given the timing of the OHA conference, this course would ideally take the form of three intensive weekends over the term. During the first weekend, Students will learn about theories and methods of oral history and their application to the disciplines / areas that the three professors represent. Considering Concordia's location on a Mohawk territory, and the Center's 10-year commitment to the city of Montreal's history of life stories, shared responsibility, horizontality, inclusion, and transparency. During the second intensive weekend in October, students will attend the OHA conference to observe how oral history is in dialogue with interdisciplinary public practices and the arts, via session presentations and related art events. In November, students will work to produce self-reflexive outcomes (texts, artworks, performance) that embodies and critically engages their developing methodological and interdisciplinary understandings of oral history. We will encourage projects that pay particular attention to the students' own thesis research / program goals. At the end of this same day, students will present their work in progress to the three professors and their cohort, gathering feedback and input. This session would take place during the third, final intensive weekend. Final papers would be due in December. The great benefit of this theory is that it will provide a major contribution to the development of the theory of international cooperation. graduate programs at Concordia.

Core texts

SANDINO, Linda and Matthew Partington, eds. Oral History in the Visual Arts. London: Bloomsbury, 2013. 

GOSSEYE, Janina, Naomi Stead, and Deborah van der Plaat, eds. Speaking of Buildings: Oral History and Architecture. Forthcoming, Queensland University Press, 2018. 


BUTLER, Toby and G. Miller. "Linked: A Landmark in Sound, a Public Walk of Art," Cultural Geographies 12, 1 (2005), 77-88. 

BUTLER, Toby. "Memoryscape: How Audio Walks Can Deepen Our Sense of Place by Integrating Art, Oral History and Cultural Geography," Geography Compass 1, 3 (2007), 360-72. 

CHARLTON, Thomas L., Lois E. Myers, and Rebecca Sharpless, eds. History of Oral History: Foundations and Methodology. Rowman Altamira, 2007. 

CHRISTEN, Kimberly. "Does Information Really Want to Be Free? Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the Question of Openness, "International Journal of Communication 6 (2012). 

HAMMOND, Cynthia and Shauna Janssen. "Points of View: Contingency, Community, and the Postindustrial Turn." FIELD 1.3 (2016), 7256 words. Online. 

HAYDEN, Dolores. The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1995. 

HIGH, Steven, Little Ted, and Liz Millar, eds. Going Public: Participatory Approaches to Performance, Documentary, and Oral History. UBC Press, 2017. 

HIGH, Steven. "Embodied Ways of Listening: Oral History, Genocide and the Audio Tour." Anthropologica 55 (2013). 

HIGH, Steven, "Mapping Memories of Displacement: Oral History, Memoryscapes and Mobile Methodologies", in Shelley Trower, ed. Place, Writing and Voice in Oral History. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

LITTLE, Ted and Steven High. "Partners in Conversation: A Reflection on the Ethics and Emergent Method of Oral History Performance," in David Dean, Yana Meerzon and Kathryn Prince, eds. History, Memory, Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 

PATGET, Derek. "Acts of Commitment: The Rehearsed Reading, and Documentary Theater." New Theater Quarterly 26, 2 (2010): 173-93. 

PORTELLI, Alessandro. "What Makes Oral History Different," in Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, eds. The Oral History Reader (Second Edition) (New York: Routledge, 2006), 32-42. 

Ritchie, Donald A., ed. The Oxford Handbook of Oral History. Oxford University Press, 2011.

SHEFTEL, Anna and Stacey Zembrzycki. "Only Human: A Reflection on the Ethical and Methodological Challenges of Working with Difficulty Stories." Oral History Review 37, 2 (2010): 191-214. 

TEBEAU, Mark. "Listening to the City: Oral History and Place in the Digital Era," Oral History Review 40, 1 (2013), 25-35.

TURGEON, Laurel. "From the material to the immaterial. New challenges, new challenges. "French Ethnology 40, 3 (2010): 389-99. 

VALK, Anne and Holly Ewald. "Bringing a Hidden Pond to Public Attention: Increasing Impact through Digital Tools," Oral History Review 40, 1 (2013), 8-24. 

VAUGHAN, Kathleen, Emanuelle Dufour, and Cynthia Hammond. "The 'Art' of the Right to the City: Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning in Pointe-St-Charles, Montreal." "Education and the Community" - special issue of Learning Landscapes. Mary Stewart and Lynn Butler Kisber. 10.1  (Autumn 2016): 387-418. 

ZEMBRZYCKI, Stacey. "Bringing Stories to Life: Using New Media to Disseminate and Critically Engage with Oral History Interviews," Oral History 41, 1 (2013).


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