Conference: Oral History and Our Times, May 1-2

May 1-2, 2013


Free & Open to the Public

The Columbia Center for Oral History [CCOH], of the Columbia Libraries, and the Oral History Master of Arts program [OHMA], through INCITE’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, are hosting a two-day conference exploring the role of oral history in documenting, disseminating and educating students and the public about the central events and concerns of our times — featuring the Rule of Law Oral History Project and impact of U.S. detention and rendition policies over the last decade. The conference will also survey the impact of Columbia’s path-breaking Oral History Master of Arts program [OHMA], the first program of its kind in the U.S., now in its fifth year. The conference gathers leading experts in the fields of oral history, human rights, and the arts.

The first day of the conference, May 1st, will conclude with a keynote (6:00 – 8:00 p.m.) by Stephen Soldz, Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Program Development at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and public activist. Soldz will discuss the uses and impact of psychological torture on those held at Guantanamo and other black sites, and the impact of condoning torture on democracy.

The second day of the conference, May 2nd, will feature a presentation on the WKCR/Center for Jazz Studies Oral History Project. Brent Edwards, a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the co-director of the Project (with Ben Young, the director of WKCR, the Columbia University radio station), will discuss the issues raised by oral history in the performing arts and the   unique approach of the Project, which involves the extensive use of archival material (including recordings, date books, programs, and flyers) in the oral history process.

In connection with this conference, there will be interactive oral history workshops May 2 from 12:15 – 1:45 p.m., taught by OHMA students and alumni, free to the public. Register now for a workshop to reserve your spot.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013: [Buell Hall, East Gallery, 1st floor, 515 West 116th Street]

10:00a.m. – 11:30a.m.  |  Panel I –  Bearing Witness: The Detainee Experience

Introduction by Terrell Frazier, Education and Outreach Director, Columbia Center for Oral History

Daniel Heyman, Artist, Rhode Island School of Design
Gerry Albarelli, Interviewer, Columbia Center for Oral History
Louis Massiah, Filmmaker, Scribe Video Center
Steven Reisner, Psychologist, President-Elect, Psychologists for Social Responsibility

Screening: Video Selections from the Rule of Law Oral History Project

Moderator: Liz Ševčenko, Director, Guantánamo Public Memory Project, Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights

11:45a.m. – 1:00p.m.  |  Lunch

1:00p.m. – 2:45p.m.  |  Panel II – Outside the Rule of Law: Illuminating Struggles for Justice

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights
Pardiss Kebriaei, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
Ron Grele, Director Emeritus, Columbia Center for Oral History
Zachary Katznelson, Senior Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union
Moderator: David Briand, Rule of Law Project Coordinator, Columbia Center for Oral History

3:00p.m. – 4:30p.m.  |  Panel III – Secrecy and the Right to Know: Oral History and our Times

Nathaniel Raymond, Human Rights Investigator
Mary Marshall Clark, Interviewer
Carol Rosenberg, Journalist, The Miami Herald
Moderator: Peter Bearman, Jonathan Cole Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.  |  Keynote Address – Psychologists and Torture: Denial and the Corruption of Civil Society

Stephen Soldz, Professor, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis

Thursday, May 2, 2013
: [Buell Hall, East Gallery, 1st floor, 515 West 116th Street]

10:00a.m. – 11:30a.m.  | Sounding the Archive: Notes on Jazz Oral History

Introduction by Mary Marshall Clark, Director, Columbia Center for Oral History

Brent Hayes Edwards, Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

12:15p.m. – 1:45p.m

(Note: Pre-registration was required. Guests are welcome to sign up on standby list at registration table in the lobby.)

Public Workshop I — by Lauren Taylor
Convergences and Divergences of Oral History and Psychotherapy

This workshop will examine the convergences and divergences of oral history and psychotherapy. Public and private themes will be explored in a sociocultural context, with a focus on trauma interviewing. Participants will learn how narrative may be developed to therapeutic effect in a range of clinical and non-clinical settings.

Public Workshop II — by Marie Scatena
Designing Oral History Projects: What is the message, why is it important and who got it?

This workshop goes through the steps of planning an oral history project with attention to backward design. We’ll explore how the original intention of the collecting effort is reflected in tangible and intangible outcomes.

Public Workshop III — by Sewon Christina Chung
Stories Beyond Digital Tools

Explore the world of interactive web technology, and gain hands-on experience utilizing new storytelling platforms and social media outlets for oral history.

2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m.  |  Oral History Dialogues

Intersubjectivity in Oral History, Social Work, and Psychology: OHMA alum Lauren Taylor in conversation with Columbia Center for Oral History Director Mary Marshall Clark.

Oral History, Environmental Studies, and Community: OHMA alum Shanna Farrell in conversation with NYC Department of Sanitation Anthropologist-in-Residence Robin Nagle

Oral History, Art Criticism, and Contested Memory: OHMA alum Jeanmarie Theobalds in conversation with Michele Saliola, Director of Programs at the Judd Foundation

4:30p.m. – 6:00p.m.  |  Multimedia Oral History Showcase and Reception

Please join us for this multimedia showcase of current Oral History MA student thesis work in video, audio, online and edible forms. Celebrate OHMA’s 5th Anniversary and our graduating students with us at a wine and cheese reception while exploring our students’ work via interactive stations.

Reem Aboukhater, Pursuing Happiness in Urban Society
Nicki Pombier-Berger, About Us.
Ellen Brooks, Stories of the Skin
Sewon Chung, Listening to Central Park North: An Interactive Oral History Mapping Project
Ellen Coon, Mha Puja
Hana Crawford, How I Learned to Act: An Oral History of Social Performance
Erica Fugger, Sangha Stories: Tales of Engaged Buddhism from the Upper West Side
Miriam Laytner, Brooklyn Storytellers
Kyana Moghadam, A Country Between
Sam Robson, Conversations with Very Forgetful People
Maye Saephanh, A Guerilla’s Journey
Elisabeth Sydor, I. Love. America.
Sara Wolcott, Apagie Musha Oral History Project

Sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History [CCOH] and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, of the Columbia Libraries, the Oral History Master of Arts program, through INCITE’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, Columbia Maison Francaise, and The Heyman Center for the Humanities.