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  1. 1. What is Oral Culture? 16 items
    In this first session, we will approach ideas of 'orality' and discuss the long history of 'oral history'. Key questions include: what is the relationship between oral cultures and writing? When does oral history begin? How do historians think about 'voices of the people'?
    1. Essential Reading 1 item
    2. Recommended Reading 10 items
      1. Folklore: the basics - Simon J. Bronner 2017

        Book 

      2. Domination and the arts of resistance: hidden transcripts - James C. Scott c1990

        Book 

      3. Orality and literacy: the technologizing of the word - Walter J. Ong 1988

        Book 

      4. The interface between the written and the oral - Jack Goody 1987

        Book 

      5. The voice of the past: oral history - Paul Thompson c2000

        Book 

      6. Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France - David Hopkin, Cambridge Books Online (Online service) 2012 (electronic resource)

        Book 

      7. The memory of the people: custom and popular senses of the past in early modern England - Andy Wood 2013

        Book 

    3. Further Reading 5 items
      1. The theory of oral composition: history and methodology - John Miles Foley 1988

        Book 

      2. Homer's traditional art - John Miles Foley c1999

        Book 

      3. Veiled sentiments: honor and poetry in a Bedouin society - Lila Abu-Lughod c1999

        Book 

  2. 2. Finding Voices 21 items
    This session explores some of the ways that historians have tried to uncover 'voices' from the period before the tape recorder. The focus is on criminal justice records, although we will discuss many types of possible source. Key questions include: why have historians bothered? Why have these criminal sources been so important to historians? What is the relationship in trial records between writing and orality? How can we recognise orality in a source?
    1. Required Reading (Secondary) 2 items
    2. Required Reading (Primary) 1 item
    3. Recommended Reading 10 items
      1. Peasants Tell Tales

        Chapter 

      2. Proverbs and Social History - James Obelkevich

        Chapter 

    4. Further Reading (including examples from different periods) 8 items
      1. Folktales in Homer's Odyssey - Denys Lionel Page 1973

        Book 

  3. 3. The Twilight of the Fairies 20 items
    This session explores recent debates about fairy tales, which have pitted literary critics against historians and folklorists. Are fairy tales best understood as oral narratives, or are they a literary construction? How can historians use tools such as the tale-type index, 'ecotypes', or even 'phylogeny' to understand fairy tales?
    1. Required Reading (Secondary) 2 items
    2. Required Reading (Primary) 0 items
      We will provide printed copies of the primary sources for this week in the previous class. If you don't receive these for any reason, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.
    3. Recommended Reading 10 items
      1. Popular culture in early modern Europe - Peter Burke 1978

        Book Recommended

      2. Fairy tales: a new history - Ruth B. Bottigheimer c2009

        Book 

      3. The types of international folktales: a classification and bibliography ; based on the system of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson - Hans-Jörg Uther 2004

        Book 

      4. The types of international folktales: a classification and bibliography ; based on the system of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson - Hans-Jörg Uther 2004

        Book 

      5. The types of international folktales: a classification and bibliography ; based on the system of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson - Hans-Jörg Uther 2004

        Book 

    4. Further Reading 8 items
      1. The Invention of Fairy Tales - Francisco Vaz da Silva 2010

        Article Further

      2. One fairy story too many: the Brothers Grimm and their tales - John M. Ellis c1983

        Book 

      3. The tale of the kind and the unkind girls: AA-TH 480 and related titles - Warren E. Roberts c1994

        Book 

  4. 4. The Bards 24 items
    This session explores another controversial set of materials: the national epic poems produced by writers such as James MacPherson and his many imitators. Are these poems authentic oral epics? Does it matter? Why were epic poems so important to ideas of nationalism?
    1. Required Reading (Primary) 1 item
    2. Required Reading (Secondary) 2 items
      1. Introductory - Ruth Finnegan

        Chapter Essential

    3. Recommended Reading 6 items
      1. Popular culture in early modern Europe - Peter Burke 1978

        Book Recommended

      2. The theory of oral composition: history and methodology - John Miles Foley 1988

        Book Recommended

      3. The invention of tradition - E. J. Hobsbawm, T. O. Ranger 1983

        Book Recommended

      4. The singer of tales - Albert Bates Lord 1960

        Book Recommended

    4. Further Reading 11 items
      1. The Celts: the construction of a myth - Malcolm Chapman 1992

        Book Further

      2. Homer's traditional art - John Miles Foley c1999

        Book Further

      3. Romanticism - Hugh Honour 1979

        Book Further

      4. Romanticism in national context - Roy Porter, Mikuláš Teich 1988

        Book Further

      5. "The sublime savage": a study of James MacPherson & the Poems of Ossian - Fiona J. Stafford 1988

        Book Further

      6. Kant, Herder, and the birth of anthropology - John H. Zammito 2002

        Book Further

    5. Other Epics 4 items
  5. 5. The Folklorists 17 items
    This session explores the work of the nineteenth-century folklorists. What image of the countryside did these men and women construct, and why? How is what they did different to what oral historians would later do? Why does it matter who the 'folk' were?
    1. Required Reading (Secondary Sources) 2 items
    2. Required Reading (Primary Source) 2 items
    3. Recommended Readings 7 items
      1. History of british folklore - Richard M. Dorson 2011

        Book Recommended

      2. Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France - David Hopkin, Cambridge Books Online (Online service) 2012 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended

    4. A Selection of Nineteenth-Century Folklore Collections 6 items
  6. 6. Medical Narratives 19 items
    In this session, we turn to the importance of medical institutions for collecting 'voices'. Why did doctors become interested in what their patients had to say? What did they do with their patients' speech? How can historians use these sources, and what problems are there with seeing things from the 'patient's point of view'?
    1. Essential Reading (Secondary) 2 items
      1. The Intermittences of Rationality - Alexandre Fontana

        Chapter Essential This is a challenging essay. It was written to accompany a primary source, the memoir written by the murderer Pierre Rivière in 1835, and edited and published by Michel Foucault and a team of specialists. We will provide some information about this in the previous session. If you miss the session, please do consult the PowerPoint and borrow some notes from another classmate.

    2. Essential Reading (Primary) 1 item
    3. Recommended Reading 3 items
    4. Further Reading 13 items
      1. Hysteria complicated by ecstasy: the case of Nanette Leroux - Jan Goldstein 2010

        Book 

      2. The man who thought he was Napoleon: toward a political history of madness - Laure Murat, Deke Dusinberre, David A. Bell 2014

        Book 

      3. Case histories - Sigmund Freud, Angela Richards, Alix Strachey, James Strachey 1990

        Book 

      4. The last asylum: a memoir of madness in our times - Barbara Taylor 2015

        Book 

      5. The many voices of psychoanalysis - Roger Kennedy, Institute of Psycho-analysis (Great Britain) 2007

        Book 

      6. Voices of madness: four pamphlets, 1683-1796 - Allan Ingram 1997

        Book Further

  7. 7. Seeing Like a State 15 items
    In this session, we explore another major collector of voices - the modern state. We ask: why have modern states sought to gather voices and information on people? What methods and projects do states use to gather people's information and how far are these "authentic" voices of individuals? And what effect does gathering this data have on the people giving it? Our major case study this week will be voices gathered by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in 1930s America, as well as census material from the early twentieth century.
    1. Essential Reading (primary) 1 item
      1. Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves Florida Narratives - United States. Work Projects Administration 0501

        Webpage Essential Please pick one narrative to analyse in detail and bring along with you to class. You'll need it for one of our activities.

    2. Essential Reading (secondary) 2 items
      1. Domination and the arts of resistance: hidden transcripts - James C. Scott c1990

        Book Essential If you cannot access the scan for the introduction to this book, then you will find a selected preview on Google Books and a full PDF of the book via the Google Search function.

    3. Recommended Reading 5 items
      1. Portrait of America: a cultural history of the Federal Writers' Project - Jerrold Hirsch c2003

        Book Recommended

      2. Soul of a people: the WPA Writer's Project uncovers Depression America - David A. Taylor 2009

        Book Recommended

    4. Further Reading 7 items
      1. Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality - E. J. Hobsbawm, Cambridge Books Online (Online service) 1992 (electronic resource)

        Book Further

      2. Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism - Benedict R. O'G. Anderson 2006

        Book 

  8. 8. Social Surveying and the Modern World 14 items
    This week we build on our discussions of state-gathered voices to focus on one particularly mode of voice collection, favoured by states and organisations from the 1940s to the present day -- the social survey. What kinds of voices emerged from these projects and who commissioned them? How far did social scientific and psychological theories -- growing in the 1940s -- influence the form of these social surveys? And were these projects really giving a voice to the voiceless and exposing 'everyday life'? Our major case study this week is the Mass Observation survey from from the late 1930s/early 1940s in Britain.
    1. Essential Reading (primary) 1 item
      1. One Mass Observation diary or survey of your own choice (come prepared to discuss it in class).

         

        Login via the library website (be sure to select the 'Mass Observation Online' database, produced by Adam Matthews publishing), or you can find the Mass Observation database via Library webpages http://www.bris.ac.uk/library/find/databases/)

    2. Essential Reading (secondary) 2 items
    3. Recommended Reading 6 items
      1. Chapter 1: Historical Background

        Chapter Essential The rest of this book will be helpful too.

      2. The Mass Observers: a history, 1937-1949 - James Hinton, Oxford Scholarship Online (Online service) 2013

        Book Recommended

      3. Nine wartime lives: Mass-Observation and the making of the modern self - James Hinton, Mass-Observation 2010

        Book Recommended Especially 'Introduction', pp. 1-20

      4. Mass-Observation - Charles Madge, Tom Harrisson 1937

        Book Recommended

      5. Soul of a People

        Audio-visual document Recommended

    4. Further Reading 5 items
      1. Seven lives from mass observation: Britain in the late twentieth-century - James Hinton, Oxford Scholarship Online (Online service) 2016

        Book Further

      2. The English in love: the intimate story of an emotional revolution - Claire Langhamer c2013

        Book Further An example of a historian using MO material. ‘Chapter 3: Suitability’, pp. 61 -87 is especially interesting.

      3. Mass Observation - Occasional papers

        Webpage Further Assorted web-based articles by historians using Mass Observation material.

      4. Writing ourselves: mass-observation and literacy practices - Dorothy Sheridan, Brian V. Street, David Bloome 2000

        Book Further

  9. 9. Activist Voices 20 items
    After several sessions on state-led projects, this week we take an alternate view, looking at how voices have been used to protest and call for change in the modern world. We ask: how have 'voices' been used to push for change in the modern world? What is the role of the 'voice' in modern political and activist history? And what can the emergence of "oral history" as a community practice during the 1960s tell us about the power of the voice?
    1. Essential reading (primary) 6 items
      1. Please listen to one interview (more if you choose) from one of these online collections 

    2. Essential Reading (Secondary) 3 items
      1. The oral history reader - Robert Perks, Alistair Thomson 2006

        Book Essential

    3. Recommended Reading 5 items
      1. Narrating our Pasts: The Social Construction of Oral History - Elizabeth Tonkin 1992

        Book Recommended Especially chapter 2 - The teller of the tale: authors and their authorisations

      2. Oral History for Social Change

        Webpage Recommended An activist blog and resource page on using oral history to effect social change. Links to other projects

    4. Further Reading 6 items
      1. Women's words: the feminist practice of oral history - Sherna Berger Gluck, Daphne Patai 1991

        Book Further

      2. Remembering: oral history performance - Della Pollock 2005

        Book Further

  10. 10. Practice of Oral History 16 items
    Having examined oral history and social change, this week we will investigate the academic practice of oral history and turn to some of the major theoretical arguments that historians have made about the production of the voice, narratives and memory through oral history. How did oral history develop as an academic practice? What have been its major innovations? Practically, what makes for a good oral history interview? How should we as historians analyse interviews not conducted by us? This week focuses on both practicalities and theory, and will bring together many of themes we have been discussing this term.
    1. Essential Reading (Primary) 1 item
      1. Please listen to an oral history interview from the British Library's Millennium Memory Bank project, part of the British Library's Sound collection. Write a summary of the interview, including details of when they were born and (if provided) the date of interview and the name of the interviewer. 

         

        You can listen to an interview of your choice - use the search function on the side or browse using the alphabetical sections.

    2. Essential Reading (Secondary) 3 items
    3. Recommended Reading 5 items
      1. Perils of the Transcript - Samuel, Raphael 1972

        Article Recommended

    4. Further Reading 7 items
      1. Oral history and photography 2016

        Book Further

  11. 11. Reflections 0 items
    This week, we look back at the entire course and reflect on the key themes, texts and methods that we have explored. We return to our "big questions" and will discuss revision technique.
    1. Essential Reading 0 items
    2. Recommended Reading 0 items
    3. Further Reading 0 items
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