Student oral history projects from "Refugee Lives" and "Documenting the Middle East" archived at Rubenstein Library.

rubenstein library

Student oral history projects from the service-learning and community-based courses "Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture, and Identity" and "Documenting the Middle East: Community & Oral History" use community-based and student documentary production to record diverse voices from Palestinian-American and refugee communities. The student-produced fieldwork will now be permanently housed at Duke's Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library. 

"I think the value of the oral history approach is endorsed by the fact that the Rubenstein invited these important long-form interviews with refugees and others residing in the Arab world (Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine) and in diasporic communities worldwide. The archives also include, besides the audio recordings themselves, word-for-word transcripts, field notes, photographs, and other materials," said Nancy Kalow, who teaches both courses.

More information on the archives:

  • Palestinian Student Films, 2012-2019 (  Thirty-five films by 36 Palestinian student filmmakers, created between 2012 and 2019, documenting or portraying the political context and lived experience in the West Bank and Gaza. This collection will be available to the general public via the DDR later in the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Refugee Lives Oral History Project, 2015-2018 ( Oral histories, transcriptions, videos, and field notes created by students in partnership with refugees from Syria, Sudan, and Iraq. Interviews were conducted between 2015 and 2018.  This collection has been expanded and it will be available to the Duke community (netID required) in Fall 2020.
  • Palestinian Oral Histories project (in process). Collection includes three years of oral history projects with Palestinians around the world. Five interviews from 2017, four from 2018, and three from 2019. Includes photographs of the interviewees, audio files for each interviewee, audio files of excerpts from some of the interviews, fieldworker field notes, complete transcripts, release forms for both interviewers and interviewees. Also includes student-made 4-minute audio edits from the oral history recordings with mp3 file, transcript, and student-written introduction.  This collection will be available in Fall 2020 to the Duke community (netID required).  Parts of the collection will be available to the wider public.
  • To learn more about the service-learning course Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity" (AMES320S / DOCST321S) watch the course overview video below:
Former Service-Learning Assistant (SLA) Malena Price talks about the service-learning course "Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity" (AMES320S / DOCST321S) taught by Professors Maha Houssami & Nancy Kalow