Latinas: A Social and Cultural Survey

Every Person is a Philosopher/ Every Day is Another Story- William and Richard Ayers


Oral history is the poetry of the everyday, the literature of the streets, the subjective experiences and personal perspectives of extraordinary ordinary people

The focus of oral history, is always the space between: between history and anthropology, happening and narrative, fact, and meaning, past and present, remembering and forgetting, student and teacher, interviewer and subject.

The interview is not an interrogation or an intrusion, or a designated therapeutic moment; it is rather the opening of a narrative space that people may choose to enter or not. It is an invitation, not a destination.

It is outward-looking. It seeks answers in the wisdom of others. It also inspires us to examine what makes people tick, what makes our complex world so exciting and confusing, who we are, where we have come from, and where we are headed.

The stories people tell and share can become powerful tools against propaganda, political dogmas, and all manner of impositions and stereotypes. Seeking honesty and authenticity in stories means becoming attuned, as well, to contradiction, disagreements, silences, negation, denials, inconsistencies, confusion, challenges, turmoil, puzzlement, commotion, ambiguities, paradoxes, disputes, uncertainty, and every kind of muddle. Oral historians dive headfirst into the wide, wild world of human experience.


Thinking of these ideas presented by William and Richard Ayers and of the person you will be interviewing  design a questionnaire of five questions (or more) with your partners based on these open categories:

. Upbringing and homeland

. Language

. Education

. Migration (if applicable) and cultural retention

. Challenges in the U.S. as a Latina


Interview Assignment Instructions

Option 1: Personal Interview


  1. Interview a Latina based on your interests as a student.

You will be asking 5 questions of your choosing based on these open categories:

. Upbringing and homeland

. Language

. Education

. Migration (if applicable) and cultural retention

. Challenges in the US as a Latina


  1. Write an introduction presenting your subject and your take on the interview and a conclusion in which you summarize the five responses and the main points discussed in the conversation.

(3-4 pages/ Double Space/ Times New Roman/ Font Size: 12)


Option 2: Response Paper on an Interview


  1. Select, watch, listen, or read ONE interview (from the interview archive) with a Latina artist or thinker.
  2. Write a response paper using the following format:
  3. Paragraph 1: Introduce the person interviewed. Explain how the person is presented by the interviewer and summarize the main points discussed in the conversation.
  4. Paragraphs 2 and 3: Choose and analyze two relevant excerpts from the interview. Explain them in your own words. Why do you think these sections are important? How and why they resonate with you? Do you agree with the opinions expressed? Do you disagree? Why?
  5. Paragraph 4: Re-state the main themes and intentions behind the interview. How it allows you to understand better the person’s work and worldviews? Would you recommend the interview? Why? To whom?

(3-4 Pages/Double Space/ Times New Roman/ Font size: 12)