The Rubenstein Library’s Human Rights Archive contains extensive primary sources on migration and displacement and how it shapes communities, families, and individuals’ lives. Our collections include the historical records of non-government organizations who assist and advocate for migrants and refugees, art and journalistic photography, NGO and INGO publications and reports, as well as oral histories with migrants and refugees. Session II focuses on oral histories and testimonials and how documentary practices can add to our understanding of the immigrant experience .
This module was developed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist and Hannah Ontiveros, The Marshall T. Meyer Human Rights Intern 2020-2021, PhD candidate Duke University Dept. of History.
"Making Sense of Oral History", section "Getting Started", Linda Shopes.
"Documenting the Undocumented: Archiving and recording the refugee experience", Paul V. Dudman.
“Protection in Europe for Refugees from Syria,” Refugee Studies Centre.
“Migration Profile: Syria”, Migration Policy Centre.
Have your students take a moment to read the Rubenstein Library’s approach to classes. It’s very short, but includes things students will want to keep in mind as they work with primary sources now and in the future.
Ask students to review UNHCR’s 2019 “Trends at a Glance” https://www.unhcr.org/globaltrends2019/ .
Ask your students to review the Refugee Lives Oral History Project Collection Guide https://archives.lib.duke.edu/catalog/refugeelivesoralhistoryproject.
Day of assignment:
Either individually or in groups, students will listen to three audio clips from the Refugee Lives Oral History Project (available below) and complete the Document Analysis Worksheet [downloadable from the box to the left of the screen] for each one. (~10 minutes).
Next, ask students to select one interview to engage with more extensively guided by the following questions (adapted from Shopes, L. 2012) (~20 minutes):
Ask students to share the results of their analysis and discuss these questions as a class (~30 minutes):
Refugee Lives Oral History Project
Oral histories, transcriptions, videos, and fieldnotes created by students in Doc Studies 321S-01/ AMES 320S at Duke University/Center for Documentary Studies, between 2015 and 2018.
Interview with Carmen Omar, “4 minute edit” https://idn.duke.edu/ark:/87924/r42v2k815 or available below.
Interview with Gayath Abd Alaziz, “4 minute edit” https://idn.duke.edu/ark:/87924/r4gx4bs53 or available below.
Interview with Jan Zedin, “4 minute edit” https://idn.duke.edu/ark:/87924/r43j3gz9b or available below.
Transcripts for each of these interviews are available in the file browser at the bottom of the page linked here.