Oral History
Course Paper
Anthro 2a Fall 2015
For this assignment you have a choice of 2 topics. Please select only one of these for your paper. This paper is to be at least 2000 words (approximately 6 pages), typed, double-spaced, size 1012 font with reasonable sized margins (1”-1.5”). Spelling and grammar are important to any college paper and if you have significant grammar and spelling mistakes they will detract from your final score. This paper is worth a possible 200 points (20% of the total possible class points ). You will need to include a word count and your fieldnotes when you submit your paper in lecture on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015.
This paper should be a personalized narrative of your informants experiences. It should present actual, lived experiences, beliefs and values from your informants own life.
Topic #1 Oral History Immigrant
For this topic you will need to interview an immigrant concerning their experiences adapting to life in the United States. You will take field notes based on your interview and then write up your findings in a full, approximately 5-7 page (minimum 2000 word) ethnography. You will be expected to utilize and apply anthropological concepts, which you have learned in this class, to your findings. You will turn in your field notes with the final version of your paper.
You will need to devise your own open-ended style of interview questions asking your informant to tell you about his or her socio-cultural experiences of adapting to American society. You may want to ask them what were the influences that caused them to migrate to the US, what sort of difficulties they faced and what, if any advantages they felt they gained through their immigration experience. Remember that you want to encourage your informant to talk as much as possible about what HE or SHE felt to be important about his or her immigration experience and what he or she would like the reader to understand about what they went through to adapt to life in the US. Also, be sure and ask your informant in what ways does he or she feel that his values have changed as a result of the immigration experience and does he or she view this as having a positive or negative impact on their life.
Please attach your interview notes to your final paper.
Topic #2 Oral History Senior Citizen
For this topic you will conduct an interview, take notes, and write up your findings in a full five to seven page paper. Please also attach your interview notes to your final paper. You will be expected to utilize and apply anthropological concepts, which you have learned in this class, to your findings.
Your interview source should be a senior citizen, preferably a family relative or family friend, with whom you feel comfortable conducting an interview. The focus of your interview will be on what was life like for your interviewee when she or he was your “college age” (please note that they do not have to have actually attended college). What beliefs, activities, values, and hopes did your interviewee have at that time? In what ways does your informant feel that their values, beliefs and expectation have changed over time? Does he or she consider these changes to be a positive or a negative? Be sure to conduct your interview in an open-ended manner. Your
goal here is to have your informant tell you as much about his or her young adult life experiences
as possible, so dont ask simple “yes” or “no” questions. Finally, compare his or her answers to
your own life. In what ways are his or her responses similar to or different from your own life?
Please attach your interview notes to your final paper.
Additional issues to keep in mind This assignment should include a discussion opf
key themes from our class. In other words, whether you choose to interview an immigrant or
interview a senior citizen, you need to discuss a minimum of three issues from our class.
These issues could include topics such as immigration experiences sexuality, dating and
marriage experiences family and kinship experiences economic (subsistence) experiences
the roles of race and ethnicity in the life of your informant (including the impact of racism and/or
racial tension) the social expectations of men and women (gender roles) as experienced by
your informant- problems related to living in an increasingly industrialized society social
pressures related to the body education experience- religious beliefs and experiences- or any
other topic that we cover in class this quarter. Please be sure to discuss your informants own
personal experiences as related to these key topics. Please focus on discussing how these issues
personally effected your informants life.
Paper Due Date: Your paper is due in class on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Late papers
will lose 10 points for each day that they are submitted late (the late penalty is applied to
weekends and holidays as well as weekdays). Please be sure to provide a word count on
your final paper and also you attach your fieldnotes to your completed paper. (The
fieldnotes do NOT count towards your total essay word count on this assignment).

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