Truth and Memory

In this section of Research Methods, we are exploring the sometimes contradictory ideas of truth and memory. These concepts are at the heart of what make Oral History so exciting, but also so controversial.

We’re going to read work by Maurice Halbwachs, a French philosopher and sociologist who developed the concept of collective memory. Dawson students will find this work on their LEA portal under the documents section.

Following this we’re going to dive into three different stories of collective memory:

  • The Fact of the Matter, which is about contradictory stories of a “mysterious substance that fell from the sky,” at the end of the Vietnam War. Listen to Radio Lab — Yellow Rain. After that, we’ll read this response to the story.
  • And Project 55, co-created by Dawson College’s very own Nancy Rebelo when she was at Concordia University. Project 55 tells the story of immigrant life on the Main, or St. Laurent.

Students will be responsible, during this time, for recording the second of their interviews, which will be due the week of April 8.


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