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HIST 119: Oral Histories (Gomez)

Sample Questions

Gender, Sexuality & Social Movements in the 20th Century U.S.
HIST 119 | ETHN 169 | WGST 168
Oral History Interview Questions

Background Information (identity, family, childhood, education)

  • Where is your family originally from? Where did you grow up and what was it like?
  • Who would you say was the person who had the most influence on you as a child/growing up?
  • Looking back on your childhood, do you feel like you were aware of the politics of the world around you? How much of it did you feel you were aware of if you were? (Local to the global scale, etc.)
  • What was your childhood like? Do you remember any specific hardships, successes, or other events that inspired you?
  • How much formal education do you have (K-12-beyond)? How much does your family have?

How they got involved in the movement/politics

  • What movement/s were you a part of?
  • What inspired you to join this movement/what was the catalyst for your participation?
  • What did it mean to you to become part of this particular social movement?
  • How did you get connected to others who were part of this movement? Did you have any role models or mentors in your life that helped you join the movement?
  • What was your role when you first joined and what stage of the movement did you join?
  • When did you join the movement? What year?
  • What did your political/social involvement look like prior to your involvement with this movement? Were you engaged socially or politically or was this your introduction?
  • Did it bring any major changes to your life? Like having to move to be closer to the center of the movement/leaving home?
  • Did this issue directly affect you or was it something that you were really passionate about but distanced from?

Personal experience in the Social Movement

  • What did a typical day look like when participating in the movement you were a part of?
  • Was there a point where you thought about leaving the movement? Why or why not?
  • What were some of the challenges you faced in regards to participating in said social movement?
  • How does your experience affect the way you think about social movements today?
  • Was there a time in the movement that you considered life-changing and if there was what happened?

The Social Movement

  • What do you think was the biggest motivator for change within the social movement?
  • What prompted the social movement?
  • What were the different views/standpoints within the movement?
  • What were the outcomes? How did it end?
  • What are your opinions on the outcome of the movement and where did you stand within the movement?
  • How did everyone get along? What were disagreements like?
  • Who were some of the drawbacks or disadvantages of the movement?
  • What were the gender and sexual politics of the movement?
  • How do you think women experienced the movement? How did men? How did queer people experience it?