About Administrator

I am an associate professor of U.S. history at Brooklyn College.

Brooklyn College: Remote learning and oral history in the time of COVID

Here is a recording of a talk I did two years ago about how I shifted my oral history instructional methods in the fall of 2020.

“When the pandemic hit, Philip F. Napoli, associate professor and chair of the Brooklyn College Department of History, knew that this semester’s oral history class was going to present unique challenges for both pedagogy and technical operation.

In this session, students Malkah Schack, Xander Raff, and Professor Napoli discuss their experiences and lessons learned from a remote semester. Students learned about oral history and were responsible for conducting at least 7 hours of interviews with 5 unique narrators culminating in creating their own podcast episode. Xander explored mental health with veterans, and Malkah explored clothing as a form of resistance. They discuss the tools they used, such as TheirStory for remote interviewing and transcription, PixStori for short-form testimonies combining image and sound, and Audacity and Garage Band for composition. They also discuss lessons learned in remote interviewing.

The webinar was facilitated by TheirStory’s Founder & CEO, Zack Ellis.”


Podcast Episode

This past spring, Micah Sander and Carter Green created the “Our Professor Podcast,” series, in which they interviewed Brooklyn College History Department faculty. The episode in which they interview me can be found here.

From the episode description:

“Carter and Micah had a chat with Professor Philip Napoli. 

Professor Philip Napoli is a historian of 20-century US social and public history and has been involved in collecting oral histories for 18 years. He received his BA from McGill and his MA and Phd from Columbia. He is the current Department Chair of the History Department.

He is the author of Bringing It All Back Home: An Oral History of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans, co-curator of “In Our Own Words: Portraits of Brooklyn’s Vietnam Veterans,” and was one of the chief researchers for Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation.”

Artwork by Layal Suliaman
Music by Nate Sander


Volunteers Wanted for a Research Study

Veterans Oral History Project IRB File # 2018-1058

This is an oral history research project focused on U.S. military veterans.

The purpose of this research is to:
1. Record, preserve and present to the public the memories of military veterans
2. Understand and interpret the long-term impact military service has had on veteran’s lives

At this time, I seek to interview women who deployed to a combat zone and took photographs.

I would like to interview you and talk about the photos you took.

The interview can take place in any location you are comfortable. It can be conducted over the telephone.

The interview will be open-ended but is not expected to last more than two hours.

You may end the interview at any time. There are no direct benefits to you for your participation in this research study.

If you agree to participate,
you will become a named author on the study.

To learn more about this research, contact:

Prof. Philip F. Napoli


1123a Boylan Hall Brooklyn College 2900 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11210

My Fall 2020 Course

HIST. 4200 Oral History Theory & Practice
Course Code: 5182
Tuesday and Thursday 6:05 PM-7:45 PM
For course permission, email Philip.napoli@gmail.com

This course is an investigation in to the processes and procedures of oral history, and the ways this technique can be employed in the study of history. Together we will learn how to conduct interviews and create appropriate archival records about them and discuss the various ways oral testimony can be used.

Because oral history is a technique, this is a project-based course in which you will be learning theory and method, not

John Jay African American Military History Luncheon

Today I am speaking at John Jay College, stepping in on behalf of my good friend Anthony Wallace. Wallace was the scheduled speaker but he is ill. This is the Annual African-American Military Heritage Luncheon.

Wallace served as a sergeant in 1st Cav Division of the United States Army in Vietnam in 1970. He was wounded April 15, almost 50 years ago.

#vietnamwar #militaryhistory