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Learn how to record oral history interviews with your family, friends, and community.

This course, led by Anna Kaplan, PhD., will introduce Washingtonians interested in becoming oral historians to the best practices of doing oral history, to empower them with the basic tools for developing their style and approach to preserving DC’s rich past through oral history interviews.

This course is structured to follow the full cycle of an oral history interview, from conception to processing. We will discuss practical and theoretical considerations of doing oral history–including COVID safety considerations – in order to demonstrate the distinctive, interdisciplinary mindset that oral historians take to their work. Because oral history is best learned “on the job,” the instructor will ask you to do activities and to discuss your experiences along the way.

There is a lot of material to cover, so participants will also be asked to do some reading and exercises between sessions in preparation.

This workshop consists of three sessions – registrants must commit to participating in each session:

May 3, 10, 17


Anna F. Kaplan, PhD, is an independent historian and oral historian whose work focuses on issues of race, memory, and historical narratives. She has worked on oral history projects with the Archives of American Art, the National Park Service, and local community projects throughout Washington, DC. Her current projects include a book manuscript about the memory of the University of Mississippi’s desegregation and a research project on Black women’s labors in establishing oral history programs or centers in the US. She also teaches courses on US history and oral history at American University and UDC. This past year she published the article “Cultivating Supports while Venturing into Interviewing During COVID-19” and organized the virtual panel “In Our Own Words: Deaf Perspectives in Oral History and Public History.” Anna also serves as the Vice President of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region and Co-Chair of the Oral History Association’s Diversity Committee.

The DC Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) documents, preserves, and celebrates the lived experiences of all Washington, DC residents and communities through oral history. The Collaborative accomplishes this by providing training, mentorship, resources, programs, and funding to current and aspiring oral historians.

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