Historical Writing Project

GLOBAL HISTORY 1015                

THIRD PAPER: ORAL HISTORY

ASSIGNMENT: For this assignment we are asking you to investigate the history of your own family as it relates to the globalization themes we are studying in this course. The basic question you should concentrate on is how globalization has shaped livelihoods and identities in your family.

The major source(s) for this assignment will be oral history, meaning one or more interviews with a family member – a parent, grandparent, or other person of a generation older than your own. [If you are not able to interview a family member, talk to your TA about interviewing some other adult older than yourself.] Consider concentrating your interview on some aspect of globalization (economy, consumerism, environment, technological change, population, disease) we are featuring in this part of the course.

PREPARATION: Before you conduct your interview you will need to prepare a list of possible questions. In order to do this you must have adequate background on your topic and your subject. Attach a list of the questions you used to the finished paper.

Begin by writing a paragraph or two about your subject’s personal background – where she/he was born, where she/he lived or lives, moves, current age, education, job, and why she/he is a good candidate for this interview. Also think about changes (new industries, technologies, occupations, political conditions, etc.) that might have played a role during your subject’s lifetime.

With this background in mind, write your list of questions and back-up questions addressing the specific parts you might want to know about. Use open ended questions (how, why) not single-answer, yes/no questions. Example: “Why did your family come to live where you grew up? How did your job affect/alter your life?

THE PAPER: Bear in mind that this paper, like the previous papers, should have a thesis related to a theme in the course and make an argument. Using information from your interview, write a 4-5 page paper (typed, double spaced, standard font and margins) relating some element(s) of your family’s history to the broader themes of the class.

Most of your paper should be in your own words. Quotations are not required, but you should feel free to use them when they can enhance your paper. Quotations can help to convey the “voice” of your subject, especially if she/he says something particularly striking that you cannot hope to rewrite better.

Assignment developed by University of Minnesota