Professor Alessandro Portelli

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

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.