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Cultural Historian’s Toolbox (PhD Core Course 2): Oral History and Cultural Memory


This hands-on, interactive course for PhD candidates (also open to RMA students) consists of 3 sessions (spread out over 2 course days). Besides practicing with preparing, conducting and reflecting on an interview, we discuss key theoretical notions on working with oral sources.

Each session needs to be prepared by reading 1-3 reader texts and by a short assignment such as analyzing particular interview fragments or searching for interesting interview examples online. Prior to the 3rd session, participants need to conduct an interview.

Learning objectives:

  • Insight into the history of Oral History and the place of Oral History within the broader field of Memory Studies.
  • Insight into the types of knowledge are connected to Oral History (both as sa source and method). We will investigate a number of concepts and approaches, such as memory culture; co-creation; performance/ self-fashioning; narrativity; representation; significant silences.
  • Gaining (limited) experience in conducting interviews.
  • Gaining knowledge of the background and possibilities of the re-use of interviews, and the possible consequences for your own research.

After registration, you are asked to send in a brief motivation (in written text or as a video): how will or could interviews be part of your research?


Friday 16 February 2024 – live in Utrecht. Drift 23, Room 1.04

-10.00 – 13.00 Introduction and session 1: Interviews – oral history as historical source. What kind of knowledge does Oral History provide? And how do individual memories relate to existing memory cultures? Session moderator: dr. Susan Hogervorst, Open Universiteit Nederland.

-Lunchbreak (lunch included)

-14.00-17.00 Session 2: What makes a good interview? What impact does the specific interaction between interviewer and interviewee have on the content of an interview? How does the interviewee perform and present her/himself during an interview? Moderator: dr. Marloes Hueklsen, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen/Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen.


Friday 8 March 2024 – live in Utrecht, Janskerkhof 2-3, room 017 (main room) + Janskerkhof 2-3, room 219 (subroom)

10.00-13.00 Session 3: Interviewing – oral history as a method. What works well while conducting an interview, and what doesn’t? And what are the possibilities of digital tools to process and share your work? Moderator: dr. Norah Karrouche, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. (NB participants will conduct an interview prior to this 3rd session).

Register (0/20 spaces left)

This course is fully booked. For a spot on the waiting list, contact