Oral History and Digital Media with Charles Hardy III

Dr. Charles Hardy III, Professor of History at West Chester University (Pennsylvania), is a pioneer in oral history and new media. Dr. Hardy has decades of experience producing radio, video, and web-based documentaries. He has been awarded numerous honours, including the prestigious Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History. Notable work of his includes Goin’ North and I Can Almost See the Lights of Home.


Dr. Hardy's publications on oral history include: “Connecting the Classroom and the Archive: Oral History, Pedagogy, & Goin’ North,” with Janneken Smucker (lead author) and Doug Boyd, Oral History in the Digital Age (2017); “Aural History, the Digital Revolution, and the Making of I Can Almost See the Lights of Home: A Field Trip to Harlan County Kentucky” in Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement (2014); “Painting in Sound: Aural History and Audio Art,” in Oral History: The Challenges of Dialogue (2009); “Authoring in Sound: Aural History, Radio, and the Digital Revolution,” in The Oral History Reader, 2nd edition (2006); “A People’s History of Industrial Philadelphia: Reflections on Community Oral History and the Uses of the Past,” Oral History Review 33:1 (Winter/Spring 2006); “Oral History in Sound and Moving Image Documentaries,” (with Pamela Dean) Handbook of Oral History (2006); and “Prodigal Sons, Trap Doors, and Painted Women: Reflections on Life Stories, Urban Legends, and Aural History,” Oral History 29:1 (Spring 2001).


Dr. Hardy visited the Oral History Centre in October to give the 2018 Bonnycastle Lecture, entitled “Connecting Classrooms and Communities: Student Engagement Through Oral History and Digital Media,” as well as delivering a noon hour lecture on, “History in Sound: Deconstructing sound based oral history presentations.” Audio for both lectures is now available by selecting the story sections of this page.

History in Sound with Charles Hardy III

On Monday, October 15, 2018 Dr. Charles Hardy delivered a noon hour lecture and listening session entitled, “History in Sound: Deconstructing sound based oral history presentations.”


In recent years more and more historians have discovered the rewards of working in sound, sharing research and interviews through sound-art, podcasts, sound walks, sound maps, installations, and other forms of sound and multi-media programming. This lecture explored some of best examples of historians, journalists and academics working in sound with an oral history component. Some of those examples include: Charles Hardy III, “This Car to the Ballpark,” (17:37), 1988; Charles Hardy III, “The Prodigal Son,” (9:00), 1985; Kitchen Sisters, “War and Separation,” (23:33), 1982; Erin Anderson, “Our Time is Up,” (43:38), 2016; Dmae Roberts, “Mei Mei, A Daughters Song,” (26:35), PRX, 1989; Cathy FitzGerald, “What the River Told Me,” (22:27), 2016; Charles Hardy and Allesandro Portelli, “I Can Almost See the Lights of Home,” (approx. 2hrs, 30min), 1999. For copyright reasons some of the listening examples cannot be played in the youtube video, you are encouraged to listen to the referenced pieces in their entirety on their respective sites which are linked above.

  • Charles Hardy at OHA "Cooking with Sound Workshop" in Montreal, 2018. Photo by Kim Moore.

Connecting Classrooms and Communities with Charles Hardy III

Dr. Charles Hardy delivered the 2018 Bonnycastle Lecture, “Connecting Classrooms and Communities: Student Engagement Through Oral History and Digital Media,” on Tuesday, October 16 at the Oral History Centre, Bryce Hall, 2B23.


In this presentation, Dr. Charles Hardy III talks about the transformations in oral history practice since the 1970s, and how free, constantly improving open-source tools enable classroom/archive/community collaborations that engage students in all facets of oral history practice, from research and field work through curation and the authoring of collaborative digital storytelling projects. Dr. Hardy also shares a history of the multi-award winning website Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia and introduce its sequel, Philadelphia Immigration.

  • Dr. Charles Hardy delivers the 2018 Bonnycastle Lecture. Photo by Kim Moore.

  • Dr. Charles Hardy discusses indexing using OHMS. Photo by Kim Moore.

  • OHC director Alexander Freund introduces Charles Hardy. Photo by Janis Thiessen

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