In conjunction with plans to celebrate Hofstra's 75th anniversary, Hofstra will be training students to take up paid positions as oral historians. Participating students will produce oral histories for use during Hofstra's 75th year celebrations. Ultimately their work will be cataloged and collected within the University's archives for the historical record.
This year-long project involves course work (Fall 2009) where students will be trained in the art of taking oral histories, and paid work (Spring 2010) collecting oral histories from Hofstra alumni and others. In addition to the experience and the credentials (for resumes and portfolios) students who are accepted into the Spring Oral History Project will receive travel expenses, and stipends of $1,500.
During the Fall semester students take HIST 178A: Oral History Workshop: Hempstead and Hofstra. Combining methods in documentary, oral history, sociology and urban studies, this course explores the concept of "neighborhood" and seeks to understand how it operates in Hempstead today. Using digital audio recorders, students will record and transcribe one-on-one interviews with community members to help capture and preserve a small portion of Hempstead's collective memory and to identify issues of local importance as defined by Hempstead residents. Working collaboratively with community-based organizations, students will seek to identify some of Hempstead's most pressing needs, the challenges it currently faces, and the degree to which a collective neighborhood vision for the future exists. These investigations will include looking into the "town-gown" dynamics between Hofstra off-campus student residents and longer-term Hempstead residents, exploring racial, ethnic and class dynamics in Hempstead neighborhoods, and looking at the impact of recent immigration on the town. In the final weeks of the course, students will transform their raw audio testimonies into short creative or documentary pieces in one of a wide variety of mediums, including (but not limited to): video, photography, radio, journalistic writing, theatrical performance, and graphic illustration.
Students will be selected from among those participating in HIST 178A for paid positions taking oral histories in Spring 2010. Approximately 10 students will be set up in working pairs and assigned to take approximately 20 oral histories from among Hofstra alumni, faculty, emeritus faculty, and administrators. Many interviews will take place locally, but several will involve travel. Both digital recording and video may be used depending on the circumstances and the subject's preferences. Post production work, including transcription, editing, and arranging will be included in the process. All participating students will receive stipends of $1,500.
Apply at the end of the semester to be selected for the Hofstra Oral History project. (details to follow)
Do I have to be a history major to participate?
No! Students in all majors are encouraged to consider participating in this project. It is especially appropriate for history majors, radio, television and video majors, and anyone with an interest in communications. Good oral historians must have both technical knowledge and the strong interpersonal skills that are necessary to put subjects at ease.
If I take HIST 178A do I have to participate in the Oral History project in the Spring?
No. There is no requirement that students in HIST 178A participate in the Spring 2010 Oral History Project.
If I take HIST 178A am I assured a paid position in the Spring Oral History Project?
No. Appointments to the Spring 2010 Oral History Project will be awarded based on the quality of the work completed while a student in HIST 178A.
If I am selected as a Hofstra Oral Historian, can I earn credit while participating in the Spring 2010 project and being paid $1,500
Yes, there will be a provision allowing students to earn credits via a tutorial course taught by Professor James A. Levy that will run parallel to and supplement work you are doing for the project.