Queens College Sociology 334-2 Fall 2012 & 381W Spring 2013
Queens College undergraduate students who enrolled in the Fall 2012 Social Research Methods course and in the Spring 2013 Senior Seminar on Immigration Research, contributed to the IRB-approved research project called “Immigrant Oral Histories: Healing Traditions and Nostalgic Foods Project.”
Queens College Sociology Professor Anahi Viladrich and Queens Memory Director Natalie Milbrodt, trained a total of twenty-nine students in oral-history methods, in-depth interviewing, non-obtrusive methods and recording techniques (i.e., creating and archiving audiovisual materials). These tools offered a unique experiential learning opportunity for students who obtained “hands-on” practice in diverse research methods, and then became a team of novice oral history researchers. As part of their class projects, students engaged elders in their families—as well as members of their local communities—as sources of information about immigrant culinary traditions.
The study results yielded interviews with twenty-nine individuals belonging to different immigrant and ethnic communities. Nineteen of those subjects were born in a variety of countries: El Salvador, Cyprus, Poland, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, Italy, Colombia, Kosovo, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Haiti (2), Guyana (3) and Ecuador (2). The other ten subjects were U.S.-born members of immigrant communities from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Europe. Jewish, Hindu, and Catholic traditions relating to food were also discussed in some of the interviews.