CC Oral History

Project management: K. Erik Franzen

Assemble a wide range of voices, allow them to speak, listen to them. These three aims are what the Collegium Carolinum’s Oral History project is all about. While there are plenty of written sources available from the time of the Collegium Carolinum’s foundations, during the 1960s, 1970s, and even into the 1980s, the history of the institute was poorly documented – there is even a shortage of photographs available from this long period of the institute’s existence. This project, which began in 2017, aims to generate verbal source material on the sixty-year history of this Germany-wide academic institution in an effort to this gap at least rudimentarily.

The goal of this project is to produce and store a collection of audio data on the history of CC through narrative, autobiographical interviews with eyewitnesses (including office holders, members of CC and other contemporary witnesses) – and ultimately to present the material thus obtained for use beyond the internal purposes of the institute itself. It is not currently planned to engage in further analysis of the data with a view to producing a more complex publication.

The central focus of this project in experiential history is the subjective experience of interviewees. The point is to evince the feelings, personal perspectives and memories of interviewees in as spontaneous a manner as possible, while leaving the specific content upon which to focus largely to each individual narrator.

In the ideal case we are hoping no just to acquire new knowledge about the institute, the actors who shaped it and the ways in which it did its work, but also to gain material on the networks used within Bohemian studies over the last few decades.

“Oral History CC” is designed to be a long-term undertaking within which the Collegium Carolinum’s “Digital History” and “Biographical Lexicon” sections will have an involvement, working in partnership with the project leaders.