Anth 351: The Interview

In ethnographic research, oral history, human rights, journalism, literature and film

By John Ryle  •  2017  •  Bard College  •  Anthropology 351  •  Human rights, Written Arts, Environmental and Urban Studies, Film and Electronic Arts  •  125 words

Course description  

The interview—a structured conversation—is central to the practice of a wide range of disciplines and genres. These include ethnographic field work, human rights research, long-form journalism, creative non-fiction and documentary film. Interview-based research also forms a basis for the understanding of culture, for the construction of complex narratives, and for specialist forms such as life histories, testimonies and confessions.

The class combines critical analysis of interview-based writing—and audio and video recording—with the development of technical interviewing skills. Classwork will include field exercises in interviewing, recording, transcription and editing, and the production of interview-based written pieces or short films. It will consider ethical and theoretical issues, the transition from speech to writing, and the enduring authority of the human voice.