School: Social Sciences
Academic Unit: Social Anthropology and History
Level of studies: Undergraduate
Course code: H-208 Semester: 3st
Course Title: Oral History
Independent teaching activities Weekly teaching hours Credits
Lectures 3 5
Course type: General Background
Prerequisite courses: None
Language of instruction and examinations: Greek
Is the course offered to erasmus students: No
Course website (Url):


    Learning outcomes: Students are expected to familiarize with the basic theoretical and methodological tools of oral history and to organize their own project bases on oral testimonies. Furthermore they are expected to acquire knowledge of the peculiarity of oral history and understand the concept and function of memory as a source of knowledge about the past. More specifically are expected to:
    • Understand oral testimonies as sources of knowledge about the past
    • Specify the peculiarities of oral testimony as a historical source
    • Apply oral history methodology to their own research
    • Use testimony as a source and be able to evaluate their evidence
    • Create and implement an oral history project
    The course is an introduction to the major theoretical question and to the methodology of oral history. It deals with questions such as: Is oral history a different kind of history? What kind of documents are the oral sources? Why oral history constitutes a challenge for the historian of the recent past? Which aspects of human history are illuminated by oral sources? The course introduces students to the practice of oral history, to the planning of interviews and their interpretation and finally to learning how to plan an oral history project. The learning of these skills is combined with familiarization with paradigmatic texts of oral history that apply oral history methodology.
    The course aims at familiarizing students with the theoretical and methodological approaches of oral history through specific historical paradigms, such as the history of the Shoah, the civil war in Greece and in Spain, the South African apartheid, etc. Furthermore, it aims to provide students with the skills of doing an oral history project in all stages: collecting, recording, interpreting, classifying, and indexing testimonies.

    General Competences: Respect for difference and multiculturalism
    Criticism and self-criticism
    Working independently
    Team work
    Showing social, professional and ethical responsibility and sensitivity to gender, and ethnic and religious difference
    Production of free, creative and inductive thinking
    Development of democratic consciousness

    (3) SYLLABUS

    1. Introduction
    • What is oral history
    • Oral history as evidence
    • Oral history as a source of knowledge about the past
    • Relationship between history and memory
    2. The use of oral testimony as a source for acquiring knowledge of the past
    3. The social role of oral history
    4. Oral history as a discrete historical field and source. Planning an oral history project.
    5. The interview: the relationship between researcher and informant
    6. The formation of cultural identities in the field of labour history
    7. The specificity of oral history as compared to other discourses about the self
    8. Memory, history, testimony
    9. Subjectivity and intersubjectivity
    10. Testimony and subjectivity in the history of migration
    11. The importance of affect for the formation of subjectivity
    12. Interpreting oral testimonies and the writing of history
    13. After the interview: transcribing, creating data bases, moral issues.


    Delivery: Face-to face
    Use of information and communications technology : Use of video testimonies, electronic sources of oral history. Use of power point and documentaries. Learning how to use data bases of oral sources and bibliographical sources.
    Student have access on EClass.
    Teaching methods:  Activity Semester workload
    Lectures 40
    Practice in class 20
    Autonomous study and exam preparation 62
    Examination 3
    Course total: 125
    Student performance evaluation: Language of evaluation: Greek
    Method of evaluation: Written examination at the end of the semester
    Specifically-defined evaluation criteria are given in the beginning of the semester.


    Suggested bibliography:

  • Lynn Abrams, Θεωρία Προφορικής Ιστορίας (μτφ. Λουκάς Ρινόπουλος), Αθήνα: Πλέθρον 2016.
  • Paul Thompson, 2002. Voices of the Past (Φωνές από το παρελθόν, Greek transl. R.V.Boeschoten-Ν. Potamianos), Athens: Plethron.
  • Zeese Papanikolas, 2002. Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre (Αμοιρολόιτος: Ο Λούις Τίκας και η σφαγή στο Λάντλοου, μετάφραση Πελαγία Μαρκέτου) Papazisis.
  •  Nicholas Doumanis, 1997. Myth and Memory in the Mediterrenean: Remembering Fascism’s Empire. Macmillan.
  • Τ. Vervenioti, D. Lambropoulou, Ρ.V. Boeschoten, P. Hantzaroula (eds), Η μνήμη αφηγείται την πόλη: Προφορική ιστορία και μνήμη του αστικού χώρου, Πλέθρον 2016.
  • Maurice Halbwachs, Τα κοινωνικά πλαίσια της μνήμης (μτφ. Ε. Ζέη-πρόλογος Ρ. Μπενβενίστε). Νεφέλη 2013.
  • Α. Gazi and Ε. Nakou, Προφορική ιστορία στα μουσεία και στην εκπαίδευση. Πλέθρον 2015.
  • Pothiti Hantzaroula, 2012. Σμιλεύοντας την υποταγή: Οι έμμισθες οικιακές εργάτριες στην Ελλάδα το πρώτο μισό του 20ού αιώνα [Sculpting Subordination: Domestic Workers in Greece, 1900-1950]. Papazisis.
  • Alessandro Portelli, The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories: Form and Meaning in Oral History (SUNY Series in Oral & Public History), 1991, State University of New York Press.
  • Luisa Passerini, 2011. “A Passion for Memory”, History Workshop Journal, 72: 241-250.
  • Riki Van Boeschoten, 1997. Ανάποδα χρόνια: συλλογική μνήμη και ιστορία στο Ζιάκα Γρεβενών (1900-1950), Πλέθρον.
  • Rena Molho. 2002. «Το αρχείο οπτικοακουστικών μαρτυριών των επιζώντων της ναζιστικής γενοκτονίας Shoah: Στόχοι, οργάνωση και διαδικασία συνεντεύξεων», Επιθεώρηση Κοινωνικών Ερευνών, 107: 199-217.
  • Dimitra Lambropoulou, 2009. Οικοδόμοι: οι άνθρωποι που έχτισαν την Αθήνα, 1950-1967. Αθήνα: Βιβλιόραμα.
  • Kerwin Lee Klein, 2000. “On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse”, Representations 60: 127-150.
  • Valerie Yow, 2005. Recording Oral History. A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences 2nd ed. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
  • Pierre Nora. 1984.  “Entre mémoire et histoire”, Les Lieux de Mémoire, τ.1, επιμ.P. Nora, Παρίσι.
  • Anna Reading. 2002. The Social Inheritance of the Holocaust: Gender, Culture and Memory. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Amin Shahid, 1995. Event, Metaphor, Memory, Chauri Chaura, 1922-1992. Μπέρκλεϊ, University of California Press.
  • Anne E.Goldman,  1983.  “Is That What She Said?”, Cultural Critique, no. 25, Fall.
  • Related academic journals:

    • Oral History
    • Oral History Review