Private Stories, Public Stories: Personal Narratives in Historical Perspectives (Honors Course)

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Private Stories, Public Stories: Personal Narratives in Historical Perspectives (Honors Course)

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study

    Communication Studies, History, Media Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    WP 1010 Introduction to Academic Writing

    WP 1111 Integrated Academic Writing and Ethics

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    The course explores the interrelationship of private stories and public experience through study of the characteristics and function of storytelling (i.e. of a minority group). Focus is placed on the connection between story-telling, (collective) memory, and social/historical experience. Students are exposed to the techniques and processes of oral history and biographical research, such as researching the subject; conducting interviews; handling materials ethically and responsibly; preserving personal narratives; and composing and editing research documents and projects.


    Private stories matter as expressions of social experience and repositories of collective memory. Using an interdisciplinary approach (that combines history with sociology and communication) and a variety of different texts (theoretical, oral, visual), the course aims to sensitize students to the functions and significance of orality as a means of articulating as well as shaping history and social experience, both private and public. Major emphasis is placed on experiential learning of the subject, as much of the course will involve on-site instruction and service work. Students will work under the guidance of the instructor on specified subjects that will vary from semester to semester.


    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate knowledge of the theory and practice of oral history;

    2. Analyze the relationship between ‘giving voice’ to the powerless and their social integration;

    3. Identify ways in which personal narratives reflect perspectives on reality and are products of social construction in particular historical contexts;

    4. Plan and develop research work in an ethical and responsible manner that reflects not only sound scholarly skills, but also understanding of the “Other”;

    5. Take part in a service project that will reflect their contribution to community.


    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the following tools are used:

    • Textual analysis, class discussion, workshop-style pair work and group work during class meetings or through BB.
    • Active student-centered teaching approach in the presentation of course material to engage learners.
    • Field-trips (and service work) that will allow students to have firsthand experience of concepts discussed in class.
    • Critical thinking exercises and learning activities designed to help students acquire confidence and benefit from independent study.
    • Student presentations of learning material to encourage involvement in the learning process.
    • Co-curricular activities, ranging from collaboration with student clubs and societies to debates and event organizing, to encourage students’ creative engagement with the material.
    • Extensive instructor feedback on assignments and activities.
    • Individualized assistance during office hours for further discussion of lecture material, additional reading, and assignments.
    • Additional print and audiovisual educational material posted on the Blackboard course template.
    • Other relevant educational material placed on reserve in the library.
    • Possible guest lectures by researchers specializing in oral history and personal narratives

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