APPLY: 2015 Summer Institute, Narrating Population Health

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research housed at INCITE is pleased to announce its 2015 Oral History Institute, “Narrating Population Health: Oral History, Disparity, and Social Change,” to be held June 15-26, 2015 at Columbia University in New York City. Increasing economic disparities, war, political conflict and identity-based forms of discrimination have resulted in an unprecedented global crisis in equitable health practices and the distribution of resources. Specifically, we will look at concrete ways that oral history reveals those disparities within communities that face discrimination and stigma, and offers new paradigms for understanding and response.

Areas of focus will include: HIV/AIDS, mass incarceration, reproductive rights, harm reduction, addiction, stigma and discrimination and the impact of the built environment on health such as asthma and other diseases. The program will focus on ways that scholars and advocates have used oral history to illuminate the impact of inequitable distribution of health resources in local and global communities.

The program will hold workshops on interviewing, analysis, digital oral history applications, and interdisciplinary research methods with presentations from medical researchers, historians, population health experts and sociologists. We encourage applicants to use the Institute to explore a range of oral history-research applications, and will select participants based on a successful pairing of the oral history method with other modes of inquiry and analysis in engaging the topics of population health from interdisciplinary perspectives.

The 2015 Application is Now Open
Priority will be given to applications submitted by February 28

Join us for Our 2014-2015 Workshop Series: Oral History, Medicine, and Health

Fall 2014 Oral History Workshop Series: Oral History, Medicine, and Health

This academic year in our public workshop series, in partnership with the Program in Narrative Medicine, the Oral History MA Program at Columbia University will be exploring the intersections of oral history, health and medicine. As public health professionals experiment with using oral history to access new realms of knowledge about health and social life, practitioners of narrative medicine deploy oral history to engage with patients, and oral historians partner with people with disabilities, dementia, and mental illness to record and amplify their stories, the time is right for an in-depth multidisciplinary engagement of the productive areas where these fields meet.

Full schedule and descriptions

All Events are Free and Open to the Public
Campus Map.


Sam Robson. “Oral History Meets Dementia: A Staged Reading of the Play Timothy and Mary.”

Thursday, September 11, 6-8pm, The Faculty House at Columbia University, Seminar Room One.

Luke Gerwe. “Seeking Witness: Voice of Witness and Building an Oral History Network.”

Thursday, September 18, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.


Teiji Okamoto. “A Radical Archive of Be(long)ing.”

Thursday, October 2, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.

Sayantani DasGupta. “Narrative Humility: Medical Listening and Oral History.”

Thursday, October 16, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.


Brian Purnell. ” Can the Oral Historian Speak?

Thursday, November 6, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.

Nicki Berger. “Oral History and Intellectual Disability: Navigating Authority, Authorship, and Advocacy.

Thursday, November 13, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.

Stay posted for upcoming events in the Spring!

Feb. 5: Ann Cvetkovich. “After Depression: Reflections on Oral and Written Personal Narrative as Archive of Feelings.”

Feb. 12: Joanne Ahola. “Finding the Contours of Torture.”

Feb. 26: Christopher Sellers. “Stories of Environmental Danger: A Collective

Mar. 5: Kathy Davis. “Bodies, Embodiment, and the Experience of Passion: What Tango Dancers Can Teach Us.”

Mar. 12: Lynda Crane and Tracy McDonough. “Oral History with Vulnerable Populations: The Schizophrenia Oral History Project.

Mar. 26: Ron Doel. “Oral History and the History of Science and Medicine.”

Apr. 2: Alessandro Portelli. “Stories I Skipped: Narratives of Care, Narratives of War.

Apr. 16: Ynestra King. “Listening with the Whole Body in Mind Feminist Oral History Project.”

Apr. 30: Aline Gubrium and Elizabeth L. Krause.”Digital Storytelling as Narrative Shock: New Views on Young Parenting Latinas, Migration, and Family.

Please refer to for updated information, or email Amy Starecheski, Associate Director of OHMA, at aas39(at)

Wednesday, June 18 at 2pm: Love, Literature & Oral History: A Public Interview with Dr. Farah Griffin

Love, Literature and Oral History:
Transmitting our Stories

A Public Interview with Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin

Farah GriffinThe Center for Oral History Research/INCITE (Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics) and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies presents a public interview with Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English & Comparative Literature and African American Studies, as a part of its 2014 Oral History Institute, “ Second Generation Memories and Stories.” The interview, which will focus on the power of love and the transmission of memory in African American communities, will be conducted by Janée Moses and Dr. Marcellus Blount will provide response.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, 2:00-4:30pm.

WHERE: Columbia University, Knox Hall, Room 509, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map.

Farah Jasmine Griffin is a professor of English and comparative literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, where she has served as director of the Institute for Research in African American studies. In addition to editing several collections of letters and essays she is the author of Who Set You Flowin’: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001) and Clawing At the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (Thomas Dunne, 2008).

Marcellus Blount, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Co-Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, teaches American and African American literary and cultural studies at Columbia University. He has been a Research Fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, a Visiting Fellow at Wesleyan’s Center for Afro-American Studies, a Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Visiting Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. He has published essays in PMLA, Callaloo, American Literary History, and Southern Review. He co-edited Representing Black Men with George Cunningham. His first study is entitled “In a Broken Tongue: Rediscovering African American Poetry.” His current project is entitled Listening for My Name: African American Men and the Politics of Friendship. He was the Sterling Brown ’22 Visiting Professor of English at Williams College.

Janée A. Moses is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan in the American Culture Program. In May 2014, she earned a Master of Arts in Oral History from Columbia University. Her thesis, It matters whom she loves: An Oral History of the Life and Works of Amina Baraka, excavates the history of Black women participants of the Black Arts Movement and the importance of knowing whom they loved. In 2012, Moses earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on 20th century American cultural history, women’s history, African American history, gender studies, literary studies, and love. Oral history remains her primary method in pursuit of re-examining history in order to advance our understanding of the present.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Terrell Frazier at or visit


Public Screening and Conversation: One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo & Gene Viernes

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research Presents
A Public Screening and Conversation:

One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes

domingo-viernes1About: One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes explores the legacy and impact of the work and lives of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, two Filipino-American activists and fishing cannery union members who were murdered for their involvement in union reform and workers’ rights activism.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 17, 6:00-8:00pm.

WHERE: Columbia University, Knox Hall, Room 509, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map.

MORE INFORMATION: Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; screening of the one-hour documentary starts at 6:10 p.m.; followed by a post-film discussion led by documentary co-producer Ron Chew and public historian and curator Jennifer Scott.

Ron Chew is the author of Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes: The Legacy of Filipino American Labor Activism. He served as executive director of the Wing Luke Asian Museum from 1991-2007. Known as an innovator using cutting-edge presentations with a locally oriented emphasis, Chew helped redefine museums by melding cultural identity, civic participation, and museum programs into a new tool in the fight for social justice.

Jennifer Scott is a Part-Time Professor at The New School for Public Engagement, Parsons School of Art and Design History and Theory, and Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Arts and Cultural Management in New York, where she teaches courses in cultural anthropology, material culture, world heritage, museum studies, and cultural pluralism. Scott, most recently, served for ten years as the Vice-Director and Director of Research at Weeksville Heritage Center, a historic house museum specializing in innovative study and applications of history, culture, the arts and civic engagement.

For more information, please email Terrell Frazier at terrellfrazier[at]



May 1 at 5pm: Social Hall: An Oral History Exhibit

The Social Hall: an Oral History Exhibit
Produced and curated by Columbia University’s OHMA Students

Please join us to celebrate our exploration of oral history-based projects

WHEN:     Thursday, May 1, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE:    Social Hall
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway (at 121st Street)
New York, New York 10027


Columbia University’s Oral History Master of Arts 2014 Cohort is proud to present “Social Hall,” an exhibition of complex projects that both challenge and advance the field of oral history. By considering multimedia applications and social presentations, we wish to introduce a new audience to the field and to share its significance in our world, both past and present.

“Social Hall” is made up of individual projects that address a wide range of topics, including Argentina’s struggle for memory in a post-dictatorship society, a woman’s journey from Fort Mojave Indian Tribe to Yale University, the explorations of a scrap diver, definition of community in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and a documentary on Black men during the era of Black Power and Black Nationalism. These projects are connected through their dependence on oral history and their engagement with living individuals, our narrators.  All projects in this exhibit were developed by OHMA students.


The Oral History Master of Arts is the first program of its kind: a one-yearinterdisciplinary Master of Arts degree training students in oral history method and theory.  Jointly run by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, one of the preeminent oral history centers in the world, and INCITE, a lively hub for interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences, OHMA connects students with the intellectual resources of a major research university, and with the intimate society of a small cohort of talented students.May 1 Flyer

Summer Internship Opportunity: Walmart Organizing and Oral History Project

Summer for Respect: Walmart Organizing and Oral History Project

Internship description

Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1964, students from around the country traveled to Mississippi to participate in Mississippi Freedom Summer. Working hand-in-hand with civil rights organizations and African American residents of Mississippi, these students helped to shine a spotlight on the deep injustices of Jim Crow. At the same time, these students came to see the world with “Mississippi eyes,” deepening their own commitment to racial and economic justice in ways that would last a lifetime.

To mark the anniversary of Freedom Summer, OUR Walmart and Columbia University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) are teaming up on a program to document the economic disenfranchisement that continues to afflict our country. Students from around the country, hand-in-hand with Walmart worker-leaders, will participate in an intensive summer of organizing and oral history documentation.

The project will last from May 26th to August 3. We will begin with an intensive four-day training in organizing, oral history, and video co-facilitated by OUR Walmart and INCITE, to take place between May 26th and May 29th at Columbia University. Students will then travel in teams to one of four regions across the country, where they will embed themselves with existing workers’ organizations. For the next nine weeks, students will be a part of ongoing organizing campaigns, with a particular focus on conducting oral history interviews with workers, customers, and community members. The group will then regroup in New York City at the beginning of August (August 1-3) for a debrief and celebration, where we will plan next steps for the campaign.

Students will learn to do the following:

  • Provide support and coaching to existing OUR Walmart leaders as they engage, recruit, and mobilize their co-workers.
  • Build relationships with Walmart workers in their communities by visiting stores, identifying friends and relatives of local union members and community members.
  • Conduct oral-history interviews with Walmart workers, customers, and community members.
  • Identify and produce compelling narrative “shorts” that succinctly articulate the impact of Walmart on workers, customers, and communities.

How to apply

Students will be paid a stipend for their participation in the program, and will be reimbursed for travel expenses. As a part of their participation, students will be encouraged to help raise funds to cover program expenses. Interested students should email with a CV and a short letter explaining their interest, with the subject line “Summer for Respect.” Letters of interest are due no later than April 25th, although we will be offering rolling admissions to qualified applicants.