Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Recounting Racism: Oral History and Modern American Race Relations.
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Source Analysis  1000 Words  25%
Semester Assessment Project  3000 Words  75%
Supplementary Assessment Source Analysis  1000 Words  25%
Supplementary Assessment Project  3000 Words  75%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of the particular ways in which oral history has been used by historians of modern American race relations.

Demonstrate how to interpret oral history testimony using the relevant theories and methodologies of this approach.

Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant historical developments in the history of modern American race relations.

Demonstrate an ability to analyse and deploy relevant historical evidence to provide appropriate arguments.

Brief description

This module allows students to examine the modern history of race relations between white and black Americans through the medium of oral history. This module will introduce students to the theoretical underpinnings and practical applications of oral history as a unique source for understanding the history of the United States and race relations. Examining various forms of oral interviews and oral history projects - including transcripts, recorded audio, and video interviews - students will learn to recognize the many factors that influence and shape the content of these sources, as well as the construction of personal narratives and memories of racism. The module will explore oral history interviews of a broad array of figures including formerly enslaved people, black and white military veterans, members of white supremacist groups, civil rights activists, and victims of racial violence to develop a sophisticated understanding of the methodological value of oral history and its applications.


The aim of the module is to explore a particular source, skill or methodology employed by historians of modern American in their work and to do so in some detail. The small-group, seminar-style delivery allows for careful and collaborative study of the particular issue under consideration.


Different aspects of the history of American race relations will be explored through the medium of oral history in the 10 seminar sessions held during the course of the semester:
1.Introducing Oral History
2.Practicing Oral History
3. WPA Narratives - Interviews
4. WPA Narratives - Memory
5. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Indiana
6. Fighting the Ku Klux Klan in 1950s North Carolina
7. The Civil Rights Era - Emotion and Trauma
8. Women in the Civil Rights Era
9. Vietnam War Veterans and Racism

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Co-ordinating with others Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.
Creative Problem Solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area, and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Critical and analytical thinking Critical and analytical thinking are essential in order to gather relevant evidence in order to produce convincing arguments in essays and in seminar discussions.
Digital capability Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard.
Professional communication Students will familiarize themselves with professional standards of communication in the discipline of history and will develop these skills through presenting written argument, supported by suitable referencing.
Real world sense This module will develop oral and written skills. It will also prepare students for careers which involve the research, critical analysis and presentation of material relevant to a particular problem or set of problems.
Reflection This will be developed consistently throughout the module, as students will need to reflect on what they have read and on questions posed in seminars and essays in order to reach conclusions. This will be an essential element of seminar discussions which will then inform the students’ written work.


This module is at CQFW Level 5