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The Uses of Memory

The Riley Lectures - In Canadian History


Acknowledged internationally as the most influential oral historian of the last quarter century, Professor Alessandro Portelli attended the International Workshop on Oral History (October 1 – 3, 2015) where he delivered a number of lectures exploring studies of memory and oral history in contemporary society.

The Uses of Memory

Since the early 1980s Professor Portelli had continued to shape oral historians’ debates about history, memory, narrative, and dialogue. Dr. Portelli worked as a professor of Anglo-American Literature at Sapienza, the University of Rome from 1981 to 2012. Before that he taught at the University of Siena. That Professor Portelli is widely recognized as a leading figure in oral history is evident in the many awards he has received. This year he received the Dan David Prize from Tel Aviv University and was a visiting professor at Princeton University and at Columbia University. In previous years, he was a visiting professor at the University of Capetown and the University of Manchester, an honorary professor at the University of Aberdeen, and a visiting fellow at Harvard University and the University of Kentucky. Professor Portelli’s award-winning publications include The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories: Form and Meaning in Oral History, The Battle of Valle Giulia: Oral History and the Art of Dialogue, The Order Has Been Carried Out: History, Memory and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome, and They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History. Two books on Italian anti-fascist songs and on Bruce Springsteen have just been published in Italy.

Professor Portelli’s visit, made possible by the H. Sanford Riley Fellowship in Canadian History fostered a dialogue between Canadian historians and internationally recognized scholars.

For the Audio link to this Lecture click below:
The Uses of Memory