course examines trans-Atlantic migration, ethnic and labor relations, and
community development among various ethnic groups in the oil company towns
of Patagonia. The student-faculty immersion team will engage in collaborative
ethnographic, oral history, and archival research with faculty and students
from the National University of Patagonia “San Juan Bosco” and residents
from the company towns of the area of Comodoro Rivadavia. A multi-lingual
team will spend two weeks in Patagonia (January 5-22) and then return to
Dickinson College to continue comparative research during the spring semester.
While the primary focus will be on the area of Comodoro Rivadavia, we will
be using Steelton, Pennsylvania as a comparative case study.
Samuel Baily, Immigrants
in the Lands of Promise: Italians in Buenos Aires and New York City, 1870-1914
(Ihaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998). (Selections)
Valerie Yow, Recording
Oral History: A Practical Guide for Social Scientists (Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage, 1994).
reserves, and reference books
John Bodnar, Immigration
and Industrialization: Ethnicity in an American Mill Town, 1870-1940
(Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977). (Selections)
Bruce Chatwin and
Paul Theroux, Patagonia Revisited (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986).
Sue Doro, Blue
Collar Goodbyes (Watsonville, CA: Papier-Mache Press, 1992). (Selections)
Elizabeth Fee, Linda
Shopes, and Linda Zeidman, eds., The Baltimore Book: New Views of Local
History (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991).
David Foster et al.,
and Customs of Argentina (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998).
Michael Frisch, Portraits
in Steel (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993). (Selections)
-----, A Shared
Authority. Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History
(Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990). (Selections)
W. H. Hudson, Idle
Days in Patagonia (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1893). (Selections)
Walter Nugent, Crossings.
Great Transatlantic Migrations, 1870-1914 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana
University Press, 1992), chaps. 4 and 12.
Karen Olson and Linda
Shopes, “Crossing Boundaries, Building Bridges: Doing Oral History Among
Working-Class Women and Men,” in Sherna Berger Gluck and Daphne Patai,
eds, Women’s Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History (New York:
Routledge, 1991), pp. 189-204.
Mary Palevsky, Atomic
Fragments: A Daughter’s Questions (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 2000). (Guest speaker)
Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories. Form and Meaning in Oral History
(Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991). (Selections)
Studs Terkel, Working.
People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They
(New York: Pantheon Books, 1974). (Selections)
Susana Torres, “Two
Oil Company Towns in Patagonia: European Immigrants, Class, and Ethnicity
(1907-1933).” Ph. D. Dissertation, Rutgers University, 1995. (Selections)
“Metaphors of Self in History: Subjectivity, Oral Narrative, and Immigration
Studies,” in Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology, Politics
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
Janet Zandy, ed.,
Memory: Our Work and Our Working-class Consciousness (New Brunswick,
NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995). (Selections) (Guest speaker)
tailored to specific student projects.
Trip to Argentina (departure from JFK)
readings: Chatwin and Theroux; Foster et al.; Hudson; Nugent
Sa 1/6 Arrival
in Buenos Aires
Trip to Comodoro
Su 1/7 Time
with host families
Fr 1/12 Introduction
to the area
by Susana Torres and Sonia Ivanoff
the city and Km 3
the Petroleum Museum
and research activities (interviews; archival work)
Su 1/14 Trip
to Camarones (penguin colonies), Península Valdés
Heritage Site –whales, sea lions, elephant
Puerto Madryn, and Puerto Pirámides
Fr 1/9 Continuation
of fieldwork and research (interviews; archival work)
Km 20 (Astra), Km 27 (Diadema), and Km 8 (Petroquímica)
Su 1/21 Stay in
La Boca, Plaza de Mayo, Puerto Madero, San Telmo,
and other areas of interest
Su 1/21 Return
trip to the U.S.
Mo 1/22 Arrival
in New York (JFK)
Trip to Carlisle
At Dickinson (January
Th 1/ 25 No
class the 1st Thursday back
Tu 1/30 Process
Materials - Tapes - Master List
Working groups/Individual Projects
We 1/31 Tour of Steelton
(12:45 - 5pm)
Th 2/1 Small
Sign Up for
Proposal Ideas Due
Su 2/4 Church
Service in Steelton (optional)
Tu 2/6 History,
Immigration, Self and Society
Th 2/8 “Labor
Oral Histories and Video Documentation and Production
Considerations in Coal Mining Camps
Tu 2/13 Video Documentation
Th 2/15 Production
that you want to work on with you to the workshop
Fr 2/16 1st Oral
History/Transcript/Translation Packet Due by noon in Denny 219C
disk copy either in WordPerfect or Word) - we’ll put them up on Coureseinfo
for everyone to access
Mo 2/19 Immigration,
Labor & Ethnic Relations in Comparative Perspective
Prof. Barone on Steelton and Prof. Torres on Patagonia
2-4 in Dana
110 (optional) - with American Mosaic class
Tu 2/20 Comparative
Study of Italians to the U.S. (NYC) and Argentina (B.A.)
Th 2/22 Discussion
Workshop - Analytical Themes
Tu 2/27 Proposals
Due (bring 2 copies of your proposal to class)
Peer Edit Proposals
Th 3/1 Presentation
and Representation of Oral History and Photography
Tu 3/6 Individual/group
Th 3/8 Individual/group
Tu 3/13 Individual/group
Th 3/15 Workshop
Projects - Presentations of Works in Progress
After Spring Break
- no class but faculty available for consultation
Fri 4/13 Final
Wed 4/25 Presentation
to the Community: Americas’ Mosaics Common Hour
Upon return to campus, students will be engaged in independent research
that supports the research projects they focused on in Patagonia. We will
be making recommendations as to readings and materials that best support
Women’s Studies Conference will be held on Saturday March 31 at Franklin
and Marshall. We can provide transportation if any of you are interested
in working up a proposal for a paper/exhibit/video presentation on some
aspect of women in Patagonia. Proposals are due February 14 and may be
submitted by email.
with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance
he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis
of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but
an interpretive one in search of meaning. (Clifford Geertz, The
Interpretation of Cultures, 1973:5)
must reach the actual experiences and attitudes which constitute the full,
live and active social reality beneath the formal organization of social
phenomena . . . . A social institution can be fully understood only if
we do not limit ourselves to abstract study of its formal organization,
but also analyze the way in which it appears in the personal experience
of various members of the group and follow the influence it has upon their
lives (W.I. Thomas).
gives history back to people in their own words. It recognizes the
of ordinary people going about their daily lives, and gives voice to their
experience. It brings history into and out of the community.
And in giving people a past, it also helps them towards a future of their
own making (Paul Thompson).
Consent, & Archiving of Interviews/Oral Histories
1) At the beginning
of your interview: once the video recording equipment is set up and running,
introduce yourself and the project, the name of the person(s) whom you
are interviewing, place and date. You will then want to ask the person(s)
to state their name and their willingness to participate in the interview.
testing - I am Susan Rose and today, Jan. 14th,2001 I am interviewing Susana
Torres in her home in Comodoro Rivadavia. Susana, is it ok for me to ask
you a few questions about what it was like growing up in Km 5? about immigration
to this region and what it was like working in the oil fields? (Response)
Yes? Great - could you please state your name and that you are willing
to be interviewed? Thanks. Ok, let me start by asking you....
gives you the opportunity to check the equipment, and make sure the sound
and picture are coming through clearly.)
2) At the end of
your interview: be sure to thank the person for their time and being willing
to speak with you. Ask if they are willing to sign the consent form, and
have them do so. And take a photo of them! And if possible, an additional
one of you and them!
If you have
the scanner and people are willing to let you scan in their photographs,
you may want to do so as you go along, taking notes about each photograph
and positioning the video camera to get a decent still shot. We can talk
about logistics here.
3) After the interview:
sure to label your tape(s) with your name, the person’s name whom you interviewed,
and date. Use standard form:
S Rose interv
of Susana Torres, CR, 1/14/01.
If there is
more than one tape, write 1 of 2 on first tape, 2 of 2 on second tape....
as soon as possible afterwards. You may want to focus on quick summary,
major points of highlights of interview, and your comments.
As part of
the research process, you should keep 3 separate journals that will enable
you to keep track of and analyze your research as you proceed.
The raw data
file should contain actual observations - thick descriptions; interviews;
questionnaires; and/or content analysis.
log should document how the research process is going, how your role as
researcher is evolving, and what questions and techniques you tried and
how people responded to you/them; that is, what was successful? unsuccessful?
Are you on-schedule or off-schedule and why? The log should also list questions
that you may want to address through subsequent
or possibly questionnaires.
journal provides you with the opportunity to ponder, question, and ultimately,
organize your findings. Emerging patterns or themes in your research should
be addressed: what themes/categories are emerging? What hypotheses are
you formulating? What evidence supports/challenges/negates a specific hypothesis?
How are your research questions related to other important aspects of the
organization/subject you are studying? What variables are interrelated
and how? Entries should be made once the research is underway and analytical
themes begin to emerge.
I have found
it useful to note a theme at the top of an index card or piece of paper,
and then go back and excerpt quotations from the interviews/transcripts
that are relevant. For example, in interviews with immigrants one may begin
to recognize certain concepts or metaphors being used - say that of “rootlessness”
or “stranger” or “resilience.”
“I felt like
a stranger, one who lived here but was not from here” (Borges, SR1:1).
“I feel like
a tree in this country, a tree without roots. But when the wind blows,
I have to appear as strong as the other trees (Andreson, SR3:12).
first quotation clearly goes under the category of “Stranger,” the second
quotation may fit under all three categories. In the end you may collapse
categories or expand them - it will be an iterative process. As you continue
interviewing, you may find that certain patterns emerge and you may want
to address these directly in your interviews. For example, you may say
to someone, “I’ve noticed from a number of the interviews I’ve done that
people often speak of restlessness, of feeling like they’ve never really
put down roots here” - does that describe your experience at all? or “have
you ever feel that way or not?
here is to move deeper into your interviews, to recognize if patterns are
emerging, and to explore them without asking leading questions. One way
is to present a range of responses. For example, you’ve found from your
interviews that: “some people have said they felt right at home here; others
say they have never felt at home here - that they feel they just don’t
have any roots here.” What has your experience been?
Rapport: Finally, and most importantly, you will want to establish a comfortable
rapport with people. This means really listening to what people have to
say to you; enjoying the interview-conversation; and appreciating the gift
you are being given by the historians who are willing to share with you
their story and their lives, as well as their time and energy. The more
natural and comfortable you can be, the more comfortable they will be.
So keep in mind these tips, but in the end, relax and with both humility
and self-assuredness, be yourself-in-conversation-with-another who has
much to share.
Which of course, also means thinking about who you are in interaction with
engages students in a dialogue - in an exchange between two subjects. It
as, as Portelli describes it a “mutual sighting” (1991:31). This we’ll
talk about later!
Note: We may
ask to see your journals in order to best advise you with regard to your
research. They will be essential to conducting and writing up the research
and will provide the raw material for our discussions and workshops.
the transcript of an interview with Andreson; SR3 stands for Susan Rose,
interview #3 (consecutively numbered); page 12.
2.In the tradition
of oral history work, interviewees or narrators are considered to be the
experts, the “historians.” Interviewers are considered the “students,”
who through asking, listening, recording, and analyzing both similarities
and differences, consistencies and contradictions across people’s testimonies,
can learn much about people’s lives and how they interact with larger social